|The first big storm system of the winter season is in the Plains now.|
Like in basically every other winter that has ever existed,
expect many more windy storms between now and spring.
Photo here of a February 2013 New England storm
by Bryan Snyder.
We're still expecting severe thunderstorms and a few tornadoes in parts of maybe Iowa, Illinois and Missouri today as this system gears up.
Expect more windy storms for the rest of the winter. This fairly intense storm is the first really strong system that becomes fairly common across the nation about now.
Winter time low pressure systems like this one tend to affect wide areas with a variety of weather, including snowstorms to the west, heavy rain and even storms to the east, and almost always, lots of wind.
Where the snow sets up and where the rain sets up always depends on the location of the storm, of course.
Nor'easters may not even give you any rain, because the warm side of the storm is offshore, so it those cases you get your classic New England snowstorm. Sometimes, the storms move across the middle of the country and up through the Great Lakes, giving a blizzard to the Plains and gusty rains to the East.
Tornadoes and severe storms get more and more rare as we move into the heart of winter come January but they are still possible in the deep south if enough warm, tropical air comes in off the Gulf of Mexico ahead of storm systems.
Windy storms are creatures of contrast. The contrast between polar cold and tropical heat are not as great in the summer, so you get weaker storms. In the winter, the Arctic is frigid, the tropics are still tropical, and if the two types of air get into fairly close proximity, more often than not, you get stronger, windier storms, as the storms feed off of this temperature contrast.
So, hang onto your hat in a broad region in the middle of the country, and if this winter is like every other one that has existed, expect more wind storms, whether the season is cold or warm, wet or snowy.
Special note to those of you in the area expecting severe weather today: Really be careful. These storms will develop fast and move even faster. You won't have much time to take shelter once you get a warning or see threatening skies. Move quickly to shelter if know a storm or potential tornado is coming