Saturday, February 13, 2021

Winter Storm and Cold Wave Update 10am Saturday

Now is the time to take a few minutes to think through how you will survive with heavy snow on the ground and these extraordinary cold temperatures. The state of Minnesota set an all-time record cold temperature of -50°F this morning. 

Joe Bastardi has made the comment that if these snowfall amounts (let alone more) between U.S. 400 and Interstate 20 or even the Texas Hill Country materialize, it will cause disruption on the order of a hurricane. Commerce will be frozen, power will likely be out in areas, and it will be difficult to get to medical emergencies.

National Weather Service Warnings
Pink = winter storm warning
Dark green = winter storm watch
Blue = winter weather advisory 

Here is my latest snowfall forecast. I've lowered the amounts a touch in a few areas. What makes this forecast extraordinarily difficult is the extremely high snow to water ratios. Typically 1" of liquid rain would equal about 10 inches of snow. In this case 1" of rain could equal anywhere from 18 to 30 inches of snow. The snow will be light and fluffy and will blow around a great deal causing moderate drifting. This is what is going to make travel so dangerous. 
Winds in southern Kansas and Oklahoma will gust between 20 and 30 mph. If you get stranded, you will put your life in danger! In many areas, the snow will be blown around so much it will be difficult to tell how much has fallen in some areas. 

Don't travel in this area after the times listed below. 
  • Make sure you have prescriptions, groceries and a full fuel tank before the times listed above. 
  • Disconnect hoses, start a slight flow of water, and open cabinets (i.e., under the kitchen sink) to help prevent broken pipes. You don't want to deal with that in this weather!
  • Power failures are possible. Prepare accordingly. 
  • If you have a vulnerable friend or family member, have them stay in with you. Make sure that is accomplished by the times above. 
Forecast Freezing Rain Accumulation

Forecast Low Temperatures Monday

Forecast Low Temperatures Tuesday

In many cases, these temperatures will be record lows!

Wind Chills Monday Morning
Note the values of -40°F (!) near the Kansas-Colorado border. 

IMPORTANT ADDITION: Below are the minimum wind chills during the worst cold wave in the history of the United States which was February 10 to 14, 1899.

Courtesy: climatologist Brian Brettschneider

Note that parts of eastern Colorado and Kansas will be at comparable levels to 1899.

In the northern Plains, wind chills will not be quite as cold but still extraordinary with some areas as cold as -50°F.

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