Dec 10, 2009

Review Of Monster Winter Storm

An unusually strong early December winter storm tracked from central California on Monday, Dec 7th, to Lake Huron Wednesday, Dec 9th where its pressure fell to 974 mb (28.75 inches). Blizzard conditions and 12"+ snow accumulations across the Midwest occurred north of the storm's track. Up to 4 feet of snow fell on the Sierra Nevada Range, 33" in western Colorado, 18" at Carson City, Nevada, 13.7" at Reno, Nevada, and 30.4" at Flagstaff, AZ. As the storm ejected into the Plains on Tuesday, Dec 8th, jet stream energy coming around the base of the upper trough produced a wind gust of 105 mph at Guadalupe Bowl near the Texas-New Mexico border. That jet stream energy caused the surface trough to deepen rapidly in Missouri and produce the second earliest blizzard on record for the area covered by the National Weather Service Office in Kansas City. Snowfall amounts across the Midwest include: 6" at North Platte, NE, 9.4" at Omaha, NE, 8" at Salina, KS, 12.7" at Des Moines, IA, 11.8" at Rochester, MN and 18.5" at Madison, WI (see photos here). As the storm moved through Grand Rapids, MI on Wednesday, it set a new record low pressure for December. Mount Mansfield, VT reported a wind gust of 108 mph, with 60 mph+ wind gusts common at lower elevations throughout the Northeast. Even now as the storm moves well into Canada, lake effect snow and blizzard conditions continue for southwest Michigan as 850 mb temperatures over Lake Michigan drop to around -20C.

After a 948 mb storm reached down to 41N latitude in the Pacific Ocean on December 5, (see this post), Hawaii is getting the biggest waves they've had in 5 years. See story and pictures here.

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