Monday, January 31, 2011

Blizzard '11 - January 31

A historic event is expected to unfold in mid-Missouri, and in fact in most of Missouri tomorrow and Wednesday.  Having grown up in Missouri, I have seen snow storms come and go.  Most of the 'big' storms have been such that provided a nice blanket of 6-10" (as we just experienced on the 20-21st), and I can count on one hand the times we have had extreme snowfalls of 12-15".  Nothing comes close to what has been churning for the past few days, and what may possibly come through in the next 12 hours. 

The Setup

A split flow in the jet stream has merged dropping down a large polar air mass that is expected to bring sub-zero temperatures by Wednesday night.  At the same time, a huge storm will be ejected out of Texas bringing an enormous amount of moisture tapped from the gulf.  Below is a graphic showing the projected path of the surface low that will cause this storm.

Here is the 2-day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast valid Monday night:

These amounts are extreme, even during spring torrents that visit the area.  But to have a snowstorm bring such rain is unprecedented during this generation.

On the right side of my blog, I show the NWS STL graphical snow forecast.  This changes with each cycle of the model runs, and this image was captured at 6:00 am Tuesday morning.  Amazing totals.

Finally, a first has happened in the history of the NWS STL.  Never before have they issued a Blizzard Warning for their CFA.  As you can see below, much of Missouri is under a blizzard warning from 6 am Tuesday till noon Wednesday.  Blizzard conditions include heavy snow, 35+ mph sustained winds, and 1/4 mile visibility for at least 3 hours.

Of course, this storm is not affecting only our area.  Many people will be affected by this dangerous system across the country.  A crippling ice storm is expected for southern Illinois into Indiana, and the heavy snow will continue northeastward into the already battered New England states.  The warning map below was captured early this afternoon.


Bob said...

In the Army I was an Armor crewman and at times we would say, "close and lock the hatches." If this event begins to happen you may want to consider the above advice my friend.

I'm going to follow this wx event and call my good buddy in MA as it approaches there.

Do take care...

OSNW3 said...

Impressive, first ever blizzard warning for STL. If I know my STL and surrounding area, things will be shut down once the snow starts flying from this storm. A friend who lives in Wentsville posted a picture of empty grocery shelves out that way.

I am glad this storm is a quick hitter, but yet I am afraid that most highways will be snow blown all the way to TX. I have family members driving to the Superbowl leaving on Thursday from WI. Face value tickets, at least they have until Sunday to get there. :)

And like Bob said. Do take care.

WxWatcher said...

I much appreciate the concern, gentlemen. A storm this size warrants such advice. Our governor has declared a state of emergency and has called up the MO National Guard, a fine group of men and women who are up to the task.

The road to TX will indeed be a tough road to travel. Hope the winter weather is a good omen for the Pack!

Christy said...

I just woke up (the only thing I like about snow days is being able to sleep in!) and as of 8:30 am it looks like we don't have much in the way of snow fall, but it is sleeting outside and has been for a while (according to weather maps I've looked at). Via RPD there is ice on the powerlines, but no power outages have been reported yetHow does your area look?

Ami Jo said...

I woke at 2:30 this morning to the sound of heavy sleet. It has been sleeting ever since, heavy at times. I checked a tree in our yard, and it appears to have only about 1/8-1/4" of ice coating it. I'm hopeful this will not be enough to down power lines.

I'll update you with my area again later! :)

WxWatcher said...

thanks for the updates Christy and Ami! If you send me pictures, I'll post them here.

Christy said...

Sending you pictures in a minute! I'm horrible at reading rulers (which is why I teach English), but it is close to an inch of sleet on our deck at 10:45am. And it is still coming down hard! I'm glad I had a very warm coat on when I went out there!! This just goes to show how much I love my little brother! ;-)

Ami Jo said...

Wxwtchr, I emailed you the picture I took with my phone at a little after 8 this morning. I plan to get my camera and go out to take more pics soon.

All still sleet here in Cuba.

Christy said...

Where is that like button????? I keep wanting to hit that with your comments, Ami! I just emailed pics as well. :)