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8th-14th…The most active weather in the country on Monday occurred along the Gulf Coast as a storm developed along the coast of Texas. This storm pulled a bunch of moisture into Texas and the Lower Mississippi Valley and produced widespread rain and even some snow showers in the colder air over western Texas and New Mexico. This prompted Winter Storm Warnings for western Texas.
Wintry weather persisted across the Northeast on Friday, as a strong winter storm moved over the region. A low pressure system continued to move northeastward, and into eastern Canada. Flow around this system pulled moisture in from the Atlantic Ocean, which triggered rain and freezing rain showers along the coast of the extreme Northeast. Colder temperatures behind this system allowed for snow showers to develop across the Great Lakes, Ohio River Valley, and the interior Northeast. Most areas saw 1 to 3 inches of new snow, while downwind shores of the Great Lakes reported 4 to 7 inches of new snow.
15th-21st…A major winter storm moved into the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday and brought areas of coastal rain, very significant snowfall to the lowlands, heavy mountain snow, and strong winds gusting to 55 mph to the Washington, Oregon, and northern California coasts. A variety of Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories, and Wind Warnings remained in effect for these regions through the day. Snow accumulations of up to 2 feet were expected in the mountains, 8-16 inches were expected in the interior southwest valleys of Washington, and 3-8 inches were expected near the coasts from northwestern California through Washington. Heavy snowfall in the mountains combined with warming created possible avalanche conditions in the southern and central Cascades. Meanwhile, strong onshore winds carried ample Pacific moisture inland across the Northwest and supported heavy snow showers from the Northern Intermountain West, and the northern tier of the Central Great Basin into the Northern Rockies. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories were in effect for these regions in anticipation of today's snowfall.
More heavy snow persisted across the West, while severe weather developed in the Southeast. A low pressure system moved from the West Coast and into the Rocky Mountains. This continued to push ample moisture onshore from the Pacific Ocean, while a cold front draped across the Rockies. This combination allowed for heavy snow showers to develop across the Great Basin and Central Rockies, with lighter snow in the Northern Rockies, Pacific Northwest, and high elevations of California. Snowfall accumulation ranged from 3 to 5 inches in the Northern Rockies, while 2 to 4 inches have been reported in the Sierra Nevadas. Heavier snow showers developed in the Great Basin with 10 to 14 inches of new snow reported in northern Utah. The Colorado Rockies saw a mid-day total of 3 to 6 inches of snow. Thus, winter weather advisories have been issued across most of the Western US. Additionally, strong winds accompanies this system with gusts from 50 to 60 mph at high mountain passes. Strongest winds have been reported up to 63 mph at Casper, Wyoming. Nearly white-out conditions created dangerous roads and travel across the Rockies. Meanwhile in the East, a low pressure system moved over the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, and pushed a cold front into the Southeast. Warm and moist air poured in ahead of this system from the Gulf of Mexico and allowed for scattered showers and thunderstorms to develop from Alabama through North Carolina. Some of these storms turned severe. Quarter to golf ball size hail was reported in Columbus, Georgia, while numerous trees and power lines blew down in Senoia, Georgia.
22nd-28th…More rain and snow developed across the West, wintry weather moved into the Great Lakes and Northeast, and severe weather popped up across the Southeast on Monday. A low pressure system and associated cold front moved onshore from the Pacific Ocean and pushed a strong cold front over California and into the Southwest. This brought more heavy rain and mountain snow to most of California, the Great Basin, and the Southwestern US. Rainfall totals have ranged from 1 to 2 inches, while snowfall in the Sierras ranged from 5 to 8 inches. The Great Basin and Four Corners saw 2 to 5 inches of new snow. Winter weather advisories have been issued from California through Colorado and Arizona. High wind advisories have been issued in some areas of the Southwest, due to strong winds with gusts from 50 to 60 mph. Meanwhile in the East, a low pressure system moved over the Great Lakes and produced a wide area of snow, freezing rain, and rain showers from northern Minnesota through New York and Pennsylvania. Snowfall accumulation reached up to 4 inches along downwind shores of the Great Lakes. Meanwhile, the system produced a cold front that extended down the Eastern Seaboard. This pulled in additional moisture and energy from the Gulf of Mexico, which lead to heavy showers and thunderstorms, some of which have turned severe. Heaviest rainfall was reported in Scottsboro, Alabama with a mid-day total of 0.55 inches and strong winds have blown down multiple trees and power lines in Millbrook, Alabama. Tornadoes have also been reported: one in Greenville, Alabama and one in Claton, Alabama.
The eastern half of the nation saw an active weather day on Thursday, with snow in the Northeast and thunderstorms in the Southeast. A low pressure system that developed over the western Gulf of Mexico continued on its northward track over the Eastern Valleys. This system produced a warm front that led it into the Ohio River Valley and Northeast. At the same time, a strong cold front extended south of this system, and continued to sweep through the Southeastern states. Abundant moisture and energy fed this system from the Gulf of Mexico, which allowed for heavy rain and strong thunderstorms to develop. Some of these storms have turned severe with strong winds and hail. Multiple power lines were blown down in Venice, Louisiana, while rainfall totals reached up to 2.24 inches in McComb, Mississippi. Tornadoes have not yet developed, but tornado watches have been issued across most of Alabama.
29th-31st…Heavy precipitation fell from the southeastern Plains into the Northeast, providing drought relief across the South but causing some lowland flooding. Weekly rainfall totaled 2 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts, from central and eastern Texas into the lower Ohio Valley
and interior Southeast. High winds howled across the northern High Plains, eroding any remaining snow cover. Great Falls, MT (74 mph on January 25), registered its highest gust since August 8, 2003, when winds gusted to 83 mph in a thunderstorm. It was Great Falls’ highest wind in January since 1974, when a gust to 77 mph was recorded on January 29. Elsewhere in Montana, January 25 wind gusts reached 121 mph at Logan Pass and 71 mph in Cut Bank. In the East, heavy rain showers were heaviest from the South to the lower Great Lakes region, with daily-record rainfall totals established in locations such as Batesville, AR (1.18 inches on January 22), and Grand Rapids, MI (0.81 inch on January 23).
Meanwhile, a new storm began to take shape across the West, resulting in daily-record snowfall totals on January 23 in Bishop, CA (4.6 inches; first measurable snow of the season), and Winnemucca, NV (4.0 inches). The following day, record-setting rainfall totals for January 24 included 1.52 inches in Oklahoma City, OK, and 0.94 inch in Wichita Falls, TX. On January 25, extremely heavy rain erupted across the south-central U.S., accompanied by numerous reports of tornadoes and wind damage in the western Gulf Coast region. In Texas, both Austin (5.66 inches) and Dallas-Ft. Worth (3.15 inches) experienced record-high precipitation totals for any calendar day in January. Austin’s wettest January day had been January 9, 1991, with 5.01 inches, while Dallas-Ft. Worth’s wettest January day had been January 4, 1998, when 3.15 inches fell. Other record-setting totals for January 25 included 2.99 inches in Ft. Smith, AR, and 2.37 inches in Vicksburg, MS. Heavy rain lingered into January 26, when daily-record totals reached 2.33 inches in Meridian, MS, and 1.57 inches in Cincinnati, OH. Toward week’s end, precipitation shifted into the Northeast, where Caribou, ME (1.15 inches), netted not only a daily-record precipitation total, but also received 8.4 inches of snow.
Alaska’s historic January continued to feature bitterly cold weather across the interior and heavy snow in some southern locations. Kodiak’s month-to-date snowfall of 48.6 inches surpassed its January 2004 record of 40.4 inches. Heavy snow showers persisted, however, in Yakutat, where
61.6 inches fell from January 21-28. Farther south, Hawaiian showers were mostly light and confined to windward locations. On Maui, Kahului continued to await its first drop of rain of the year. Some of the heaviest showers fell across Kauai on January 26, when Lihue received 0.91 inch and totals locally exceeded 2 inches.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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