Storm That Battered the Central U.S. Moves East

Source: The New York Times
Date: 14th December 2022

A sweeping storm that slammed the Plains and Upper Midwest with heavy snow, strong winds and freezing rain this week was predicted to move east and set the stage for a possible nor’easter Thursday through Saturday.

The storm system created difficult-to-impossible travel conditions, scattered power outages, and harsh livestock conditions on Tuesday, according to the Weather Prediction Center. The harsh conditions across the Plains and Upper Midwest — where another four to 12 inches of snow were forecast — were expected to persist through Wednesday and well into Thursday.

Combined with Tuesday’s snowfall, the additional snow could push accumulated totals in those areas up to 30 inches, forecasters said.

The Prediction Center said the storm would bring “bitterly cold wind chills” and temperatures throughout the region.

As the storm’s center slowly moves out of the Plains and into the Great Lakes region by Thursday night, it will spin off a secondary storm in the Mid-Atlantic states on Thursday. That sets the stage for a coastal storm Thursday into Saturday.

“Winter ramps up for the Interior Northeast and Northern/Central Appalachians Thursday,” the Prediction Center forecasters said, “with accumulating snow and freezing rain likely.”

More than 35 million people across the United States were under alerts for winter weather on Wednesday, and more than 500,000 people were under a blizzard warning in parts of Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

More than a dozen states were affected by the storm system. A line of storms that moved across North Texas and into Louisiana on Tuesday spawned strong tornadoes that killed at least two people.

Ice is possible in parts of the Northeast on Thursday morning.
On Thursday, a coastal storm system will form near the Carolinas and begin moving up the Eastern Seaboard, forecasters said. This won’t be the type of storm you expect when you hear the term nor’easter, which refers to the winds that come from the northeast.

The storm will track close to the shoreline in what is often referred to by forecasters as a coastal hugger. As a result, the storm will likely stay too warm to produce snow in the major cities along the coast. New York City is expected to receive rain, rather than snow, starting Thursday.

Although precipitation will remain mostly rain along the Atlantic coast, some light but impactful freezing rain, sleet, and snow may mix in during the Thursday morning commute along the Interstate 95 corridor, forecasters said Wednesday.

The transition between rain and freezing rain, which could create a light glaze of ice, will fall roughly around the I-95 corridor between Washington and Delaware.

Further to the west, in parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, ice could accumulate up to a quarter of an inch, with a few areas receiving higher amounts.

“The precipitation will transition to more of a snow threat further north into New York,” the forecasters said, “with four to eight inches, locally higher at elevation in the mountains.”

By Friday, the snowfall will move into interior New England.

Expect a “chilly windswept rain” forecasters with the National Weather Service in Boston said.

The threat of tornadoes continues across the South.
Storms, developing on the southern end of this storm system, continued to bring damaging winds and strong tornadoes across parts of the South on Wednesday, the Storm Prediction Center said.

Parts of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were under a tornado watch until Wednesday night, the Weather Service said, after at least two people were killed by the storms and dozens of others were injured.

Tornadoes are not uncommon this time of year, but they are less likely than in the spring and early summer.

The storm will push southeast Wednesday, putting much of the South at risk for abundant rainfall that could produce flash flooding. The heaviest rainfall is likely from Louisiana through north-central Mississippi and western Tennessee.

Parts of interstates across the Plains are closed.
Winds of up to 55 miles per hour, combined with the snow, continued to prompt road closures across the Northern and Central High Plains, including parts of Interstates 80, 90 and 94.

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service said that those areas could see “multiple days of significant impacts to travel and infrastructure due to snow, blowing snow and freezing rain” and emphasized that “travel may become impossible.”

In Iliff, Colo., more than 100 miles northeast of Denver, a storm chaser, put on his ski jacket and thermals early Tuesday and headed out into blizzard and whiteout conditions, with temperatures hovering around 16 degrees, with a wind chill of minus 2.

“It’s pretty brutal to be outside. It will chill you to the bone,” he said. “Blowing snow was hitting my face. As a storm chaser, I’m used to it, but it’s pretty intense and hard to see things.”

The snow was also piling up across the mountain west, allowing for multiple feet of fluffy powder in some locations.

Ski resort operators were celebrating. At Steamboat Ski Resort in northwestern Colorado, the snowfall helped usher in “one of the best early seasons most can remember,” said a spokeswoman. Nearly 40 inches of snow have piled up this month, she added, including about 12 inches in the last 24 hours.

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