Saturday, November 30, 2013

December 2-4 Potential Blizzard

There is growing potential for a substantial winter storm to fall upon the Northern Plains and upper Midwest, possibly to blizzard proportions. 

Reanalysis of the weather around East Asia reveals a storm system passed over the region on November 26th, resulting in the apprehension for the chance of a storm system for the nation between December 2nd and December 6th. This storm would appear to be related to that East Asian connection, where weather anomalies in East Asia can be reciprocated in the United States approximately 6-10 days later. Model guidance is now catching on to what may be a blizzard in the December 2-4 timeframe.

Precipitation type and MSLP projections for December 3rd, when this storm is at its peak, show very heavy snow impacting the Northern Plains, including the Dakotas and Minnesota, as well as the Upper Midwest (with Wisconsin and the Michigan peninsula included). The storm's minimum pressure looks to be in the 980 millibar range, which classifies this as a very strong storm system. This is confirmed by the tight pressure contour arrangement around the storm system. With the tightening of those pressure contours comes increased winds, and this is why my concern is shifting towards a blizzard threat. It remains to be seen if the criteria for a blizzard will be met, but based on current model projections, I wouldn't take that idea off the table.

Snowfall amounts from this storm range from half a foot in far North Dakota to over a foot in southeast ND and a portion of South Dakota. Totals above the 12 inch mark are widely projected across Minnesota, extending into Wisconsin before a drop-off to the 6-12 inch range is seen across the Badger State. I'm generally anticipating amounts close to this forecast, as a system as strong as this one will be capable of producing some rather large snows.


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