|This huge tree toppled in San Diego Monday. It was part|
of a storm that's causing a Plains blizzard and severe weather in the
South today. Photo by Steve Margis
Today, it's the weather's turn to be wild in the nation, and as expected, Iowa is one of the focal points.
A blizzard is raging in Iowa. And Nebraska, and southeastern South Dakota. And northern Kansas as the expected strong storm lifts northeastward across the Plains today.
It's a great day to stay inside and not drive anywhere in these areas. They're getting four to 12 inches of powdery snow. The wind is gusting to 45 mph or more. That means whiteout conditions. You don't want to get lost and stuck on one of those many rural highways and roads in the blizzard zone.
If you do, you might not make it out alive.
Iowa and surrounding states are actually getting a wide variety of weather today. While the northwestern half of the state endures a blizzard, the southeastern corner is getting rain and possible thunderstorms.
In Nebraska, the blizzard was accompanied by thunder and lightning this morning, a testament to the strength of this storm.
In any event, I think most of the politicians still in the Presidential race were smart enough to have fled Iowa before the worst of the storm hit. For those left behind, the Des Moines airport is still open, but flights out are decidedly iffy.
They're mostly in New Hampshire now, which is the next political battleground. For the record, the weather in New Hampshire today is quite nice for early February. Expect sunshine, with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, warmer than normal for this time of year.
So if you're somehow not sick of politics, enjoy all those rallies in New Hampshire, folks!
New Hampshire and the rest of New England s today's exception to the nasty weather across the country.
Aside from the blizzard, there's a risk of severe storms and tornadoes along the Gulf Coast states, Mid-Mississippi Valley and lower Ohio Valley.
Like the blizzard, the severe weather was well forecasted days in advance, so nobody in the risk zone should be surprised by a squall line with damaging winds, or even worse, a tornado or two.
All bursts of severe weather are dangerous, of course, but this one is on the nasty side because storms will be moving fast, which won't give you time to heed warnings. And if tornadoes are wrapped in heavy rain, people might not see them coming.
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center also says a couple of the tornadoes could be strong and long lasting, which would be terrible if something like that went through towns and cities. Be alert folks!
Elsewhere, there's a flood watch tomorrow for parts of Pennsylvania as a burst of heavy rain and near record high temperatures brought along by this storm will melt a lot of snow left over by the big late January blizzard.
This storm has already caused a lot of problems. High winds struck California, and a falling tree killed one person in Pacific Beach. Winds gusted to 87 mph in the hills above Malibu. Flash flooding was reported around Santa Barbara.
Elsewhere, snow piled up to 30 inches in Lake Thomas, California and 33 inches in Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado.
When I first started describing this storm when it was forecast days ago, I said there was no rest for the weary, that it seemed one big storm after another was affected the United States.
True to form, there's potential for another hefty storm along the East Coast somewhere in the February 8 to 11 time frame.
It does look like there are decent chances of snow for the ski areas of Vermont and surrounding places starting after Thursday. I don't know if these will be major dumps or just itty bitty flurries, but anything will help.
I noticed that Mad River Glen ski area in Vermont had to shut down operations until at least this weekend due to thin snow. That's definitely a BIG rarity in Vermont for early February
If that storm or storms develop, I doubt it will be nearly as strong as the epic Blizzard of 2016. I'm not even sure if the Northeast will get hit by something. But it's definitely something to watch.