WeatherNation Blog

Monster Ice/Snow/Severe Storm Developing

Hello and happy Monday everyone – hope your weekend was fine! Well, get ready for another major winter storm! Unfortunately, this one means business. Heavy rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow looks to be moving across the country over the next few days from the Great Basin to the New England States. Several winter weather headlines have been posted from New Mexico to New Jersey.

Biggest Threat

This storm has the makings of a major snow and ice storm with some severe stuff breaking out today and tomorrow evening across the deep south. Though, let’s investigate the snow and ice situation a little more first. Latest model runs are suggesting that this storm could produce a 2100 mile long swath of 12″ or more of snow… The storm itself could impact 1/3 of the U.S. population (around 100 million people) by the time it is all said and done by Thursday.

Snow Forecast

Blizzard Potential

If you look closer at the watches and warnings near the Great Lakes Region, you will notice some lime green coloring… That’s a BLIZZARD WATCH for heavy snow and wind, which could cause near zero mile visibility for several hours.

Ice Forecast

How Much Ice Can Make a Bad Situation Worse?

If you’ve ever driven when the roads are icy, you know it doesn’t take much to make a bad situation worse. When the ice starts piling up to 1/4″ or more… that’s when the real problems start to show up, not only on the roads, but also in terms of power outages as ice begins to weigh down trees and power lines. For power lines with a 300ft. span, 1/2″ of ice can add nearly 300 pounds and 1″ of ice can add nearly 750 pounds. For power lines with a 1500ft. span, ice accumulating to 2″ can add nearly 11,000 pounds of extra weight. Generally, ice on trees can increase the branch weight by nearly 30 times! Snow wonder why so many trees and tree limbs break during icing events.

How to Prepare for a Winter Ice Storm

So, how does one prepare for an ice storm? Check out the information below from

  1. Place a winter emergency kit in your car. There are going to be times when a winter ice storm will hit when you are away from the house. Unfortunately, most employers will not let you call out because the weatherman is calling for a winter ice storm. Your winter emergency kit will help you to get home in one piece no matter what you encounter.
  2. Collect all of your flashlights and candles together and make sure that everything is working correctly before the winter ice storm hits. Winter ice storms have been notorious for knocking out power to millions with the weight of the ice on power lines. Do not be left in the dark during the winter ice storm.
  3. Keep your pantry stocked with food that you can eat with out having to cook it. If you lose power during a winter ice storm, you want to make sure that you can still eat. You can also make sure you have all the usual food necessities in case you still have power but are stuck in the house for a few days due to the winter ice storm

Thanks for the information above!

Severe Threat Today and Tomorrow

Today doesn’t look all that impressive, however, there will be some strong to severe storms that break out later today/tonight in central Texas.

Severe Tomorrow

I am more impressed with the weather setup tomorrow through the Lower Mississippi Valley from Little Rock, AR to New Orleans, LA. Heavy rain, damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes can’t be ruled out late tomorrow/tomorrow night.

Rapidly Developing System

Take a look at the high resolution radar reflectivity map for tomorrow, showing the developing storm system as it gathers strength and heads northeast with heavy snow & ice in the Middle Mississippi Valley along with strong to severe storms in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Also, note the wind vectors racing into the center of the low, which could be gusting to 40mph or 50mph by late tomorrow afternoon!

That’s all for today – we’ll keep you posted on this developing system and have the latest tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Meteorologist Todd Nelson – WeatherNation LLC

A Meteorological Mess This Week

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday, as we are looking at a mess nationwide this week. Over 100 million people will be affected by this system, and by the time Thursday rolls around all of the lower 48 will be affected in some way by this system. Lets hop right into it.

The Overall Picture

Here is the set up for the week, if you are in a hurry. We have a low pressure center right now in the four-corners region that will be moving to the east and combining with a forming low in the Texas region early this week and move across the county, which will end up bringing rain and strong thunderstorms to the south, a crippling ice storm to parts of the Ohio River Valley all the way into Texas, and heavy snows to the upper portion of the country. Let’s try to break it down day-by-day.

This Evening

Already this evening we will see snow start spreading into the upper Midwest from the first system, and will continue into the day on Monday. We will show you current watches and warnings for this system in just a little bit.


On Monday, we will see heavy snows continue over the upper Midwest, meanwhile the secondary low will start to form over Texas where some showers and storms might start to break out. Parts of the upper Midwest could see 6-12″ of snow by the time all is said and done with this system early Tuesday in this area of the county.


Tuesday appears to be the big day of the storm, with a hodgepodge of weather occurring. First, we could see more heavy snows from Iowa to Chicago all the way into the northeast where totals from 6-12″ are possible. Even all the way into Oklahoma, we could see up to 8″ of sleet in parts of the state. A major ice storm, with accumulations of a quarter of an inch and higher, are possible from St. Louis to Terre Haute, Indianapolis and Columbus, possibly as far south as Cincinnati. Rain and thunderstorms are possible south of this line, with some severe storms possible in the deep south.

Tuesday’s ICE Chance

This map highlights the areas likely to receive at least a quarter of an inch of ice on Tuesday. As you can see, the icing chances stretch into the northeast, but will be more prominent on Wednesday, which we will discuss in a moment. This has the makings of a crippling ice storm for these regions — I do expect many trees and power lines down across these areas, hurting the power grid and everyday business in the region.

Tuesdays SEVERE Chance

This is the current severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for the day on Tuesday, showing the severe weather chances in eastern Texas through NOLA and Mobile into the panhandle of Florida. Large hail, damaging winds, and an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

Groundhogs Day Wednesday

I have a feeling Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow on Wednesday as the storm will really impact the northeast on Wednesday, with a good chance of ice across Pennsylvania and into the New York City area. The snow that should fall will be north of where the big snows in the northeast have been recently… that just means though they will be in that middle zone where a quarter of an inch of ice or more could be possible. More rain across the south is likely, with some severe storms possible. Some of this may linger in the northeast on Thursday.

Possible SNOW/ICE Totals along with Watches/Warnings/Advisories as of this morning

Now, I must stress, what you see above is a MODEL run, just like everything else. This is NOT set in stone. But, if we go off of this model, a cool 10-20″ of snow may fall from the OKC to the Windy City up to the Motor City. 6-12″ is more likely in the OKC area, as I do not expect it all to be snow, and the same amount is likely towards the Twin Cities. I do expect around a foot in the Chicago area.

This will be the extremely crippling part of the storm, as an inch of ice could fall all the way from Dallas through OKC to Indianapolis and into the northeast, hitting the major areas of Boston and NYC. This will likely halt a lot of industries across these areas, as travel could be impossible along with power outages. Already the NWS office in Indianapolis is warning that this could rival the March 1988 storm which left 2″ of ice across the central portion of Indiana.

This is the current scope of Watches/Warnings/Advisories as of this morning around 11:35 AM central time. A BLIZZARD WATCH has been issued for the Chicago area late this morning. This is going to be an extremely fluid situation over the next few days, so stay tuned and be aware of what your local National Weather Service forecast office.

Temps Take A Dive

Temps will also be taking a dive, which is what will allow snow, sleet, and freezing rain all the way into Texas throughout the middle of the week. These are forecasted highs for Wednesday, chilly teens reaching all the way into Texas.

Looking Toward Next Weekend

I just wanted to hit on this quickly, as it looks like another strong storm system could bring heavy snows to the northeast next weekend. Will be something to monitor over the week, especially once we get done with this storm.

Tropical Cyclones hitting Australia


We have two tropical cyclones getting ready to hit the Queensland area of Australia, an area already ravaged with flooding a couple weeks ago.

First we have Tropical Cyclone Anthony, weakening as we speak as it gets ready to hit Queenslands. This is not the main concern in the area.

Later this week another Tropical Cyclone, named Yasi, will hit parts of Queensland, likely as what we would consider a strong hurricane back here in the states. This will be the big threat of high winds and more unnecessary rains for the area.

Upper Midwest Flooding this Spring

Spring melting of snow will likely lead to major flooding across the upper Midwest this spring. You can read the latest flood outlooks, issued late last week, at the following links:

NWS Twin Cities, covering the Mississippi, Minnesota, and Crow River areas along with other smaller tributaries

NWS Grand Forks, covering the Red River Valley and Devils Lake areas along with other smaller tributaries
NWS La Crosse, covering the Mississippi River along with other smaller tributaries
NWS Quad Cities
, covering the Mississippi River along with other smaller tributaries
NWS Des Moines, covering the Iowa and Des Moines Rivers along with other smaller tributaries

NWS Sioux Falls, covering the Missouri River along with other smaller tributaries

We got a lot of interesting weather the next few days that I’m sure Todd will keep you updated on tomorrow. Until then, have a safe Sunday out there, and get ready for the storm!

D.J. Kayser for WeatherNation
Twitter @weathrlver

Dreaming of Summer

For some places, winter is only getting started.  Snow continues to pile up well into the end of March in the far northern edges of the country.  And an impressive winter it has been so far with near record snow totals in Minnesota.  Current snow depth in International Falls, MN is 30″.  That is the most snow on the ground since March 12, 2009.  And before that date, International Falls hasn’t seen that much snow on the ground since 1996.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Denver actually has least amount of snow in the past 122 years, with only 12.1″ of snow so far this season.  It even felt like spring there yesterday with a high of 67°!  Don’t break out the shorts quite yet though, a major change is on the way next week.  In fact by Tuesday a blast of arctic air will be bringing highs around 2°, making for a 65 degree temperature change in 4 days.

All this talk about endless amounts of cold air and piles of snow makes me wonder why I live in such a terrible cold climate with no relief for months.  So what is the “best” climate?  Depends on which tourist board you ask, as it is a very subjective question.  But one that has been studied on several occasions.  Here are some of the results as you contemplate your next move:

Gran Canaria (Canary Islands – just off the coast of Morrocco)

Dr. Whitemore, a US climatologist, studied 600 cities and concluded that Gran Canaria had the best climate due to its subtropical climate and trade winds making it pleasant year round.

Altixco, Mexico

Since it is so high in elevation, the temperate only varies a few degrees all year with the average in the mid 80s.

Faulconbridge, Australia

Representative from the World Meteorological Organization says this place has the “worlds most equitable climate.”  It has a high elevation and mild conditions.

Redwood City, CA

City slogan says it all – “Climate Best by Government Test.”

Read all about these cities here:

A Taste of Spring

Temperatures across the south central region are soaring above average today.  High pressure will keep the winds light and the skies clear.  Highs today will be as high as 25 degrees warmer than normal for this time of the year.

The forecast high temperature in Oklahoma City, OK today maybe as high as 71°.  That is the average high on April 13!  Forecast highs around the region are into the 60s and 70s, even as far north as Kansas.

Of course, this comes to end quickly so enjoy this brief taste of spring while it is here.  The next system will be sending these numbers back below freezing throughout the middle of next week.  In fact, by next Tuesday highs in Oklahoma City will only be around 27°, making for a 44 degree temperature change in just 4 days.  And along with that sub-freezing air, there is also the possiblity of a rain, snow, sleet mix.  So from swimming pool weather to winter weather in just a few days.

We are looking at a similar drastic temperature change in northwest in the next few days – especially Montana.  Highs will be in the mid forties today but after the jet shifts and cold air sinks in from Canada, those highs will only be in the low single digits by the start of next week.  There continues to be no shortage of moisture across the Northwest.  Drought index showing above average precipitation for the region:

Enjoy the mild air while it’s here, winter returns in full force next week!

Much Quieter Weather

Hello and happy Thursday everyone – hope all is well and I hope your coping with all the snow/wintry weather this winter… good grief!

Record Breaking Snow

Unbelievable… The 6th snowstorm to hit the Northeast since Thanksgiving was another wallop! Take a look at the record snowfall for January 26th, 2011:

Philadelphia, PA ….. 14.2″

Central Park, NYC ….. 12.3″

Allentown, PA ….. 11.3″

Newark, NJ ….. 11.0″

Laguardia, NYC ….. 9.4″

Baltimore, MD ….. 7.8″

JFK Airport, NYC ….. 6.0″

Snowiest January on Record

This latest storm has dumped enough snow to bring many locations into record territory regarding January snowfall. The locations listed below have seen record January snowfall:

New York City, NY: 32.3″ (old record 27.4″ in 1925)

Newark, NJ: 32.6″ (old record 31.6″ in 1996)

Bridgeport, CT: 34.8″ (old record 26.2″ in 1965)

Islip, NY: 25.6″ (old record 21.5″ in 2005)

***** Hartford, CT: 48″ (now the SNOWIEST MONTH on record, beating out December of 1945)*****

Other Notable Stats:

*Thundersnow was reported AGAIN with this storm, which is a very rare occurrence (only happening a handful of time nationwide per year) but this is perhaps the 3rd or 4th time we’ve had it reported since Thanksgiving! Generally when this occurs, snowfall rates can be VERY impressive! This time, there were reports of snowfall rates nearing 5″ per hour!!

*New York City, DC, Boston and Philly all had a snowday today… this is only the 9th time since 1978 that kids stayed home from school in NYC due to weather.

*At the height of the storm, there were nearly 500,000 people without power across the Northeast.

*Several airport closed and Amtrak services were postponed.

*Philly received 15.1″ which tied for the 11th biggest snowfall event in recorded history and is the biggest snowfall event to occur in a La Nina winter.

*Wet, heavy snow in Lynn, Mass collapsed @ creamery building roof and several people were injured or trapped.

Sorry for the shorty post today – busy day in the weather office! Stop by again tomorrow won’t you?! Enjoy the rest of your Thursday.

Meteorologist Todd Nelson – WeatherNation LLC

January 2011
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