Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Storm Update, 6:36 pm CST Sunday

The National Weather Service in Oklahoma City calls the storm,


The National Weather Service in Chicago says,

Notice a common theme? That theme applies to everywhere in-between that will be affected by this storm.

Below is a map of current winter weather advisories as of 4:06 5:36pm CST Sunday. The winter weather warnings are for snow except for the areas where freezing rain (glaze ice) is indicated (see below).  I expect a number of these to be upgraded to blizzard warnings tomorrow for the storm which will begin late Monday night and Tuesday in the Plains then spread east.  
Light green, blizzard watch; pink, winter storm warning; purple, winter weather advisory
(less serious than a watch or warning); hunter green = winter storm watch.
Here is AccuWeather's 48-hour ice storm forecast:
The darker pinks and purples = more ice. St. Louis, Indianapolis
and Dayton are at risk for an ice storm. This may extend
well into Pennsylvania at midweek. 

This storm is so vast that, by the time it exits into the Atlantic, AccuWeather's Alex Sosnowski estimates that 100,000,000 people will be affected. AccuWeather will have the earliest updates tomorrow morning!

There was a horrible blizzard in 1888 in the northern High Plains known as The Children's Blizzard. Here is how Wikipedia describes it:

What made the storm so deadly was the timing (during work and school hours), the suddenness, and the brief spell of warmer weather that preceded it. In addition, the very strong wind fields behind the cold front and the powdery nature of the snow reduced visibilities on the open plains to zero. People ventured from the safety of their homes to do chores, go to town, attend school, or simply enjoy the relative warmth of the day. As a result, thousands of people—including a significant number of schoolchildren—got caught in the blizzard. The death toll was 235. Travel was severely impeded in the days following.

We have a sophisticated warning system now. Don't let the very mild weather (central and southern Plains) of the last few days fool you. While we don't have every detail as to locations and amounts nailed down yet, this will be a huge winter storm. Prepare accordingly.

And, if you are outside of the affected areas, do not try to travel by air or by auto into them. This is one of those cases where you could be stuck at the airport for days. If you already have tickets, follow the steps in the Airline Crisis Survival Guide. Update at 5:36pm Sunday, airline waivers have been issued for Chicago (here's United's) and more will likely be issued in the morning.


  1. This is wonderful,thanks to you! A forecast I can trust! I teach about 20 miles away, a morning class and a nite class. Sure helps to reliable notice of weather events.


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