By Todd Nelson
What a difference a few weeks makes, huh?!
After a VERY warm start to December, we've finally settled into a more winter-like pattern. According to NOAA, 65% of the nation was covered in snow on Thursday. On December 6th, only 6% of the nation was covered in snow! The most recent storm brought snow to Texas and Amarillo recorded a "White Christmas" for the 2nd year in a row. That becomes only the 2nd back-to-back white Christmas in recorded history (1894-1895).
Unfortunately, this was a big severe weather and tornado producing storm with 40 preliminary tornado reports. We'll see how many ACTUAL tornadoes the National Weather Service comes up with, but it may very well be the most tornadoes EVER on record for a Christmas day (record: 12 set in 1969).
A weak bundle of energy will cross through the region today with a prolonged light/fluffy snow chance through much of the day. I could see a few inches of fluff along the MN/IA border and up to a couple of inches for folks in the Twin Cities. Expect a few light shoveling reps and not-so-nice traveling conditions as the disturbance drifts by. we may see our first metro sub-zero reading by the start of 2013!
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
FRIDAY: Light snow continues. Light shoveling duties, up to a couple inches possible across the Metro. A few inches likely across far southern MN. High: 24. Winds: NE turning NNW 5-10.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a few lingering flurries/light snow showers. Low: 12
SATURDAY: AM flurry? PM clearing trend. High: 20
SUNDAY: Clipper arrives.Getting breezy with a few flurries late. Low: 7. High: 22.
NEW YEAR'S EVE: Intervals of sun. So long 2012. Low: 7. High: 15
NEW YEAR'S EVE NIGHT: Looks cold for the countdown. Low: 0
NEW YEAR'S DAY: Cold start to 2013! High: 14
WEDNESDAY: Another clipper with PM flurries?. Low: 6. High: 19.
THURSDAY: Arctic sunshine. Low: 4. High: 10
Welcome to winter! In just a matter of weeks, winter is here across much of the Lower 48. Take a look at this image from Lake Mille Lacs, MN from Thursday morning. Notice those big trailers… those are ice houses! A number of ice houses are already out on the ice quite a ways with many more to show up in the coming days/weeks.
Take a look at how quickly the ice formed on Lake Mille Lacs as temperatures fell through the month! Pretty incredible transformation from the start of the month til now.
Now is a good time to remind you about ice safety. Every year we hear about people/cars/ice houses falling through the ice. Just a reminder from the DNR…
“There really is no sure answer. You can’t judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors — plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, water chemistry and currents, the distribution of the load on the ice, and local climatic conditions.
There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice.”
St. Paul, MN
Light snow potential moving in to the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area through Friday. I think there will be enough to get some light shoveling reps in. It may also be enough to snarl up traffic on Friday, so plan ahead and allow yourself a little extra time to get from point A to point B tomorrow.
Winter Weather Headlines
The National Weather Service has issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for areas shaded in purple below. The advisory is in place through Friday, where up to 3″ – 5″ of snow may be possible.
Here’s the RPM model, which suggests a light fluffy coating of snow from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes through Saturday.
(White: Up to 1″ || Light Blue: 2″ to 4″ || Darker Blue: 3″ to 5″)
Latest Storm Brought Massive Snow
The image below from NOAA shows how much snow fell from Texas to the Eastern Great Lakes. Areas in pink suggest close to 12″!
BIG Chance in U.S. Snow Cover
The image below shows the U.S. snow cover from Thursday… a whopping 65% of the nation was covered in snow!
Dismal Start to December
Not only were we dealing with record high temperatures across much of the nation, but we also had minimal snow pack to start to month. According to NOAA’s NOHRSC, on December 6th, we only had 6% of the nation covered in snow!
Christmas Day Tornadoes
Strange to think that we had such active severe weather on Christmas day. Twisters spun up from Texas to Alabama and left a large swath of damage with several reported injuries. The image below is from near Maxie, MS courtesy the NWS out of Jackson, MS.
Strong December Tornadoes
We typically don’t see tornadoes as strong as they were on Tuesday. Large, long track tornadoes popped up a few times on Tuesday. One in particular was rated an EF-3 near Pearl River, MS.
Preliminary Tornado Reports
The Storm Prediction center continues to toggle their total PRELIMINARY tornado count from Tuesday. The number is now up to 40!
Christmas Day Tornadoes May Be Most on Record?
Interestingly, the 40 reported tornadoes (actual number likely to go down due to multiple reports of single tornadoes) may be the most on record for Christmas Day!
Historical Perspective on Tornadic Outbreak
Thanks to the Capitol Weather Gang for the information below in regards to the historical perspective on past tornadic outbreak. It’ll help to put this more recent outbreak into perspective:
“Here is historical perspective on Christmas Day severe weather from SPC:
Notable U.S. tornado events with at least one EF2 tornado occurring between Dec. 24 and Dec. 26:
Dec. 24-25, 1964: 14 tornadoes, AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN, WV (3 F3, 2 deaths (GA), ~30 total injuries).
Dec. 25, 1969: 12 tornadoes, FL, GA, LA (2 F3, 1 death (LA), 17 total injuries).
Dec. 25-26, 1973: 7 tornadoes, AL, FL, GA, OH, MO (2 F2, 0 deaths, 2 injuries).
Dec. 24, 1975: 3 tornadoes, TX, FL (1 F3 (TX), 0 deaths, 0 injuries).
Dec. 24-25, 1977: 3 tornadoes, MS, FL (1 F3 (MS), 0 deaths, 7 injuries).
Dec. 24-26, 1982: 29 tornadoes, OK, MO, AR, TN, MS (1 F4 (AR), 2 F3, 3 deaths (AR/MO), 32 total injuries).
Dec. 24, 1988; 1 tornado, TN (1 F4, 1 death, 7 injuries).
Dec. 24, 1997: 3 tornadoes, AL (1 F2, 0 deaths, 5 injuries).
Dec. 25, 2006: 6 tornadoes, GA, FL (4 F2, 0 deaths, 14 injuries).
Dec. 24, 2009: 22 tornadoes, TX, LA, MS (3 F2, 0 deaths, 4 injuries).
Other relevant statistics from SPC:
* AL, GA, LA, MS, and FL are the most likely states to experience tornado events around this time of year.
* The last time a number of tornadoes impacted the Gulf Coast area around Christmas Day was in 2009, when 22 tornadoes occurred during the morning hours of December 24th.
* In over 60 years there have been two EF4-rated tornadoes on Christmas Eve, one in 1982 in AR, the other in 1988 in TN.
* The last killer tornado around Christmas was a Christmas Eve EF4 in TN in 1988, killing one person and injuring 7.”
Severe Threat Friday
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather on Friday for some of the same areas that were hit with severe weather earlier this week. Here’s more from the SPC:
The RPM model suggests that by Friday afternoon/evening, storms could be rumbling across some of the same areas that were hit earlier this week. I don’t think that we’ll have quite as big of an outbreak as what we had earlier this week, but a few watches/warnings may be issued. The image below is the radar simulation for 7pm CST Friday.
The Northeast was dealing with the storm on Thursday. There were a number of delayed flights at some of the major hubs out east due to wind/weather and low clouds. Hopefully everyone got to their destination alright after the holiday break earlier this week.
Snow in Binghamton, NY
This was what it looked like in Binghamton, NY earlier Thursday.
Northeast Winter Warnings
The National Weather Service continued Winter Weather Warnings through PM Thursday/AM Friday as the storm continued lifting northeast through the region. By the storms end, up to 15″+ would be possible.
Snow Totals So Far…
As of midday Thursday, here were some of the heaviest NY snow totals
Another Nor’Easter Developing?
Interestingly, models are suggesting another storm developing just in time for the weekend! It looks like the storm will intensify rapidly offshore this weekend. This could REALLY hamper traveling if it gets close enough to the coast. At least, I expect more wind/coastal rain and possibly even some heavy snow (closer to the coast) as this storm skirts the coastline… Stay tuned!
Thanks for checking in, have a great weekend ahead!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV