Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wild Weather Extremes Now In The Great Plains

The National Weather Service hazards map was
busy this morning with blizzard and winter storm
alerts in the norther Plains, and fire and wind warnings
in the southern Plains. 
Yesterday, my relatives in the southeastern South Dakota city of Yankton enjoyed temperatures in the low 70s, which is incredibly warm for them this time of year.

By tonight, Yankton will be in the low 30s, it will be snowing, and winds from the  north will be gusting to 50 mph.

That's just one of many examples of some real whipsaw, extreme weather going on in the Great Plains at the moment.

Yankton will be on the southern edge of a winter storm that, as mentioned yesterday, is poised to bring blizzard conditions to parts of South Dakota and Minnesota.

Further south, in southeastern Colorado and western Kansas, there's an extreme fire risk today after record high temperatures yesterday are followed today by super dry air and winds of 60 mph or more.

Southern California is also under the gun for fire weather today.

The cold front with this Plains storm is also providing a rude awakening after temperatures in the central and southern Plains yesterday reached their highest levels for so late in the season on Wednesday.

Denver reached 80 degrees, tying the record high for the entire month of November. This record is unusual in its own right, but if you are going to have a monthly record high in November, it would be in the warmer early days on the month, not right before Thanksgiving.

Denver's forecast high today is just 41 degrees, so that's quite a change.

Dodge City, Kansas reached 87 degrees Wednesday, by far its hottest reading for so late in the season. By Friday, the high temperature will only reach the upper 40s there.

If you want wild swings in temperature, the Great Plains are usually the place to go anyway. The kinds of extremes this week in the region are a little bigger than usual, but it has happened before.

Places that are far away from the moderating effects of oceans tend to have wilder temperature gyrations. This week is a terrific example of that.

Year-to-year differences in the Great Plains are striking, too. Two years ago Wednesday,, there was snow around Oklahoma City. Last year on the same date, tornadoes threatened that city. Then, on Wednesday this year, Oklahoma City recorded a record high temperature of 86 degrees.

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