Sunday, January 31, 2016

Iowa's Worst Winter Week: Caucuses, Then A Blizzard

It'll probably look like this on many
Iowa roads Tuesday. Blizzard watch in effect.
I bet there are a number of Iowans who just want this upcoming week to be over, thank you very much.

Politicians and their minions have been slinging totally obnoxious attack ads at each other Every Single Moment of Iowa TV, ahead of the presidential caucuses Monday night.

And, Phew! when that's finally over late Monday night, the attack ads stop in Iowa,.

But immediately following, a blizzard then attacks Iowa, as it looks now.  

A blizzard watch has been posted for all except southeastern Iowa from the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday through late Tuesday night.

A strong storm is forcast to emerge from the central Rocky Mountains and move through the center of the country on off toward the Great Lakes over the next few days. This will produce the likely blizzard, and as noted yesterday, a wide variety of other nasty weather for other parts of the country.

The blizzard watch also extends into eastern Nebraska, southern Minnesota and extreme southeastern South Dakota.

A good six to 12 inches of snow is expected with this thing in Iowa, with winds gusting well over 40 mph. That would create whiteout conditions, especially in the wide open areas of rural Iowa.

On the bright side, maybe Iowans can take all those politicians and late Monday night, drive them to a rural outpost far from any town and let them fend for themselves in Tuesday's blizzard.

Just kidding, folks!!!

I also wouldn't be surprised, as the storm draws closer, if blizzard watches or warnings were issued for some areas in a a stripe from Colorado, through the area in Iowa already covered by the blizzard watch, and on into Wisconsin.

Colorado is really going to be slammed by this thing, with a good three feet of snow in some of the mountains in that state.

Good for the ski areas, but they almost have too much of a good thing. Up at Steamboat Springs, Colorado,there's so much snow they don't know where to put it when they clear off streets, sidewalks and parking lots now.

Bigger cities like Denver and Colorado Springs can expect six to 12 inches at least out of this, along with strong winds and blizzard-like conditions.


Tornadoes/Severe storms:

This big storm is still likely to create an outbreak of severe weather and some tornadoes Tuesday in the lower Mississippi on up into places like Tennessee, Kentucky, southern Illinois and southern Indiana on Tuesday.

This probably won't be the biggest tornado outbreak ever, thank goodness, but any tornado that hits a built up area is potentiallly very deadly and very dangerous. So I'd watch out in those areas.

Although tornadoes are definitely a possibility in this area, a lot of people in the danger zone will experience a really nasty squall line with strong wind gusts and torrential rains.

This storm's cold front is still in California today, and might spin up a brief tornado today along the southern California coast, including in the very populated L.A. Basin and around San Diego. So heads up for that. dude!

Lots of wind:

High wind warnings, watches and wind advisories extend from the southern half of California today all the way to Texas, and parts of Arkansas and Louisiana.

This is a dynamic system, so it will make for lots of wind along its path. (Remember, that's a big part of the reason why there's a blizzard watch in Iowa.)

Today and Monday,  winds could gust as high as 75 mph in the high deserts and mountain passes of southern California, well east of Los Angeles and San Diego.

Strong, dry winds associated with this developing storm is raising the risk of wildfires today in parts of West Texas and New Mexico.

Though it's too soon to start issuing wind advisories and watches in the eastern half of the nation, this storm will probably raise the risk of strong, possibly damaging winds in a few locations around the Great Lakes and Northeast.

High temperatures/floods

In the East, I'm still expecting the storm to bring a surge of warm air and rain from Florida to Maine.

In parts of the central Appalachians that got hammered by the blizzard more than a week ago, the combination of rain and melting snow could touch off some flooding.

I don't expect a widespread flood disaster at all, but it's something to watch for people who live in low lying areas there.

Up in New England, where snow cover is below normal, this will surely frustrate skiers and riders. They can expect bouts of rain tonight, Monday and Wednesday, and temperatures Monday and Wednesday that could threaten record highs. All this would damage what snow cover there is in places like northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Don't worry, winter lovers. It will turn colder after the storm goes by on Wednesday, and the chill might stay awhile. The ski resorts will make snow, and a series of small storms mid-month will gradually put more and more snow on the ground.

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