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1st-6thPlenty of active weather developed over the southeastern quadrant of the nation on Wednesday as a low pressure system trekked eastward along the Central Gulf Coast and an associated frontal boundary extended from the Central Gulf Coast to the Georgia Coast. Abundant moisture availability combined with these systems to produce numerous showers with periods of heavy prolonged rains from eastern Texas through parts of Georgia. Widespread rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches were likely while 4 to 6 inches were possible in localized areas. High rainfall totals created chances of localized flooding of poor drainage areas. Lighter precipitation also fell across Kentucky, Tennessee, and the central Mid-Atlantic region. While widespread severe thunderstorm development was not expected, many of the stronger showers or thunderstorms across the area will were likely have wind gusts from 40 to 50 mph and small hail.


7th-13thA powerful coastal storm packing rain, snow and sleet surprised New Englanders with its ferocity as wind gusts built to speeds topping 60 mph, knocking down trees and utility poles, leaving tens of thousands of people in the dark. At sea, swells topped out at more than 15 feet.

At the peak, more than 60,000 homes and businesses were in the dark Monday morning in Maine, where the Portland International Jetport recorded a gust of 63 mph. There were 15,000 outages in New Hampshire, where winds topped 60 mph at the Isles of Shoals. There were sporadic outages elsewhere. The storm raked the region with driving rain, sleet and freezing rain, and powerful winds seemed to grab trees and effortlessly shake them. Dozens of schools closed for the day because of power outages and at least one traffic fatality was blamed on the weather. In Freeport, Bill Fish was startled when he awoke Monday morning to find a 75-foot pine tree had snapped and fallen across some power lines, which crashed into a heap in the middle of the road. Somehow, he'd managed to sleep through the commotion when the wind knocked down the massive tree. Central Maine Power Co. officials monitored the storm over the weekend, but it was more powerful than expected when it crossed into the state, said CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice. Numerous trees and branches fell onto power lines, and more than 60 utility poles had been toppled as of Monday morning, she said. There was no significant snow but there was enough rain to cause flooding and close roads to traffic. The National Weather Service said the storm will continue through Tuesday.

By late Monday afternoon, about 31,000 homes and businesses in Maine and 1,500 in New Hampshire were still without power. CMP expected to restore electricity to more customers Monday night and to complete the job Tuesday. The complex storm pattern involved two low-pressure systems that rotated off the coast from New Jersey to Maine resulting in heavy squalls and blustery conditions, said Butch Roberts, weather service meteorologist in Maine. It was reaching its peak strength when it arrived on the Maine coast. In New Hampshire, Justin Towle, 29, of Claremont was killed Monday after his car struck a large tree that had been uprooted by high winds and fallen across Route 120 in Cornish, according to state police. Early in the morning, the Coast Guard launched a helicopter, jet, three cutters and other vessels to search for a New Jersey-based fishing boat and its four-person crew after receiving an alert from the boat's emergency beacon off Massachusetts with 25- to 30-knot winds and 15-foot seas. The boat was located later in the morning, and all aboard were safe. The fishing boat had lost generator power, making it difficult to communicate earlier, an official said. Sudden icing conditions were blamed for a rash of overnight accidents in Massachusetts, including two that left police officers injured. Authorities weren't sure if weather was a factor in a fatal crash on Interstate 495 in Raynham. A 57-year-old Brockton man died when his car went out of control at about 4:30 a.m., struck a guardrail and then was hit by a tractor-trailer.

This could go down as one of the most significant snowstorms to strike the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area in two decades.  The impacts were far reaching; from power outages to car accidents to flight cancellations. Roughly 8 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow has fallen over the Twin Cities since the snow began late Friday night. A storm system, which originated in the central Plains, intensified on Friday and into Saturday morning as it moved into Iowa and Wisconsin. Snow fell in earnest during the mid-morning hours over the Twin Cities metro area and at times fell at a rate of 1 inch per hour. With a temperature hovering around the freezing mark, the snow that fell had a very high water content.  This translates into the backbreaking shoveling, heavy snow and not the light and powdery kind. The snow began to accumulate over tree branches and power lines and weighed them down considerable.  The weighing of the snow led to the snapping of hundreds if not thousands of tree branches city-wide and power lines crashing to the ground. At one point or another, more than 115,000 Xcel customers were affected by the storm. Xcel complany spokeman Tom Hoen stated in a Star Tribune report that "We've gotten a ton of reports of tree branches coming down, taking power lines out." "As we get people back up, we get another half-dozen calls saying their power's out.

Meteorologist Paul Douglas wrote in his Star Tribune blog that, "During the 1990s we had five snowfalls of at least four inches before Thanksgiving, only two storms over six inches," he wrote. "The last decade has been remarkably quiet and snow-free. That's what makes today's storm so unusual." Meanwhile according to the Star Tribune, several flights into and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were delayed or cancelled Saturday morning during the height of the storm.

Furthermore, the Minnesota State Patrol responded to 200 crashes statewide and assisted another 200 motorists who had slid into the ditch since midnight Saturday. The snow in the Twin Cities will finally begin to taper Saturday night before finally coming to an end by Sunday morning aside from a flurry or two. Look for clouds to stick around on Sunday with temperatures holding in the mid 30s.  High temperatures will remain in the 30s for the rest of the week.


14th-20thThe West remained snowy and rainy as a trough of low pressure and associated cold front dipped in from British Columbia on Friday. The system obtained ample moisture from the Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean, which allowed for periods of heavy rain showers to develop across Oregon and Washington, while heavy snowfall developed at higher elevations of the Northern Rockies, Intermountain West, and Great Basin. Parts of Idaho reported between 1-3 inches of snow, while the high elevations of northern California reported 2-4 inches of snow. Snow across the Cascades diminished throughout the day, as the system dug further south, down the West Coast. Snow levels across the Northern Rockies dropped to valley floors, but remained at 2,500 feet across the Sierras and Intermountain West. Highest mid-day rainfall reached up to 0.71 inches at North Bend, Oregon, while most of northern California saw less than a tenth of an inch of rain. However, Alturas, California reported 0.16 inches of rain.


21st-27thMost of the nation saw active weather on Monday. A trough of low pressure over the Western US continued pulling cool and moist air in from the Gulf of Alaska. This system pushed a front eastward and over the Intermountain West and into the Northern Rockies. Periods of heavy snow developed in the mountains, with rain showers at lower levels. Winter weather advisories have been issued across most of the Western US, as snowfall accumulation ranged from 0-3 inches in Idaho, to 3 inches in Utah, and up to 6 inches in the Sierras and Cascades. Snow levels moved up to 5,000 feet across the Sierras, and remained at the valley floors elsewhere. Some high elevation mountain passes saw near a foot of snow on Monday.

A ferocious storm that crippled much of the Pacific Northwest barreled into the Rockies on Tuesday, causing whiteout conditions on one of the busiest travel days of the year. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for Utah, where Interstate 84 and Interstate 15 were temporarily shut down in northern Utah because of windy, snowy conditions that led two tractor-trailers to jackknife and block traffic. Even once the roads were reopened, visibility was still very limited there and elsewhere in the state as many commuters made their way home on snow-covered roads. Numerous schools, governments and businesses in Utah closed hours earlier than normal Tuesday because of the storm, with state traffic officials warning the evening commute could take four times longer than usual. Of nearly 300 flights scheduled to take off from Salt Lake City International Airport Tuesday evening, nine had been canceled, although it wasn't immediately clear if all of those were caused by the storm. Highway officials told holiday travelers earlier in the day to get out of town now or risk being stranded on Thanksgiving. In the western part of Utah, empty eastbound semitrailers on Interstate 80 were being held near the Nevada line to prevent them from tipping over in the windy salt flats. At least three deaths in Washington state have been blamed on the storm, including a man struck and killed outside his car Monday night on snowy Interstate 5 in Tacoma. Officials in Portland, Ore., also were investigating whether a man whose body was found along the Willamette River died from the cold. Thanksgiving travel was dicey throughout the region, with many highways too dangerous to drive. In Seattle, icy roads kept airline crews from getting to the airport, and people who missed their flights because of the dangerous drive were trying to rebook on already crowded planes. The weather service said 2.5 inches of snow fell at the airport Monday, breaking the old record for the date of 1.5 inches in 1977. The tiny central Washington town of Waterville became a refuge when the blizzard blasted across the scattered wheat fields and sagebrush along U.S. Highway 2. Even cold-hardened Alaskans were complaining about the weather, with freezing rain making travel hazardous if not impossible. Fairbanks was among the hardest-hit; schools closed and most government agencies and military bases told nonessential workers to stay home. "I don't think the roads can get much worse," said David Gibbs, emergency operations director for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Andy Haner, a weather service meteorologist in Seattle, said the storm blew down from Alaska before turning toward the Northern Rockies.

"Sometimes we call them 'inside sliders' because they slide down the Inside Passage from Alaska," he said. Citrus growers in California's San Joaquin Valley prepared to fight off crop-damaging frost as a cold front moves into the region. The storm reached the Salt Lake City area during the evening commute. That's what happened Monday night in Washington. Slick roads, blowing snow and temperatures in the mid-20s turned rush hour in Seattle and nearby cities into an hours-long crawl. Some motorists gave up after being stuck for five hours or more and returned to their offices or just left their cars at the side of the road.

Winds gusting to 65 mph made matters worse by cutting off power for tens of thousands of utility customers in Western Washington. Puget Sound Energy said it was doing all it can to restore electricity to tens of thousands of customers who lost power in the Monday night storm, but some could still be in the cold and dark on Thanksgiving. Spokane and Eastern Washington were hit with even stronger winds and colder temperatures, staying well below zero overnight. Tuesday dawned bright, sunny and cold over much of the state as crews hurried to plow and deice roads. Most schools closed, including the University of Washington's three campuses.

Annie Wicken, an employee at a Seattle supermarket, said her boss practically begged her to make the hours-long, multi-bus journey to work.

Two people were killed Monday when their car slid on a snowy road at Cowiche near Yakima and collided with another car, the Washington State Patrol said. Another man died when he was struck outside his car Monday night on snowy Interstate 5 in Tacoma. The patrol Tuesday launched a plane equipped with a heat-seeking camera to look for stranded motorists from Seattle south to Olympia. It said that in the 24 hours ending at 10 a.m., troopers had responded to 1,557 collisions and 1,274 disabled motorists statewide. Much of Northwest will get a cold but brief break to dig out and maybe brave travel for the Thanksgiving holiday before more snow that could arrive by Wednesday night.

The weather on Thanksgiving Day brought dangerous travel conditions to most of the Eastern US. A strong winter storm continued to track eastward across the Central US and into the Great Lakes. Counter-clockwise flow around this system pushed cool and dry air in from central Canada, which allowed for extremely cold temperatures across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Highs only reached into the teens across the region. This strong surge of cold air also created a cold front that moved over the Midwest, up the Ohio River Valley, and stretched down the Mississippi River. Temperatures remained above freezing along most areas of this cold front, thus, precipitation remained as rain showers. Some areas saw scattered thunderstorms, with some severe-strength winds that snapped tree branches and blew down power lines in Glen and Caraway, Arkansas. Harrisburg, Illinois reported 2.27 inches of rain, but most areas along the front saw between 1-2 inches of rainfall. Flooding continued to threaten most of the Midwest. As this system crept northeastward into New England, cooler temperatures allowed for some mixed precipitation of freezing rain and snow. This brought even more dangerous road conditions and many airports saw major delays. Winter storm advisories have been issued for the Northeast from New York state to Maine. Meanwhile in the West, another sunny and cold day prevailed over the California due to a dominant ridge of high pressure. Highs only ranged from 50 to 50 and overnight lows dipped below freezing, thus, another frost advisory has been issued over most of California. In the north, a trough moved into the Pacific Northwest, which produced cloudy skies with a few scattered sprinkles.


Jim G. Munley, jr.

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