Monday, January 2, 2017

More Storms To Open 2017: Severe Weather, Rain, Ice, Snow

Severe thunderstorms and possible tornades are expected in
the South today, especially in the yellow an orange areas.  
The weather pattern in December, 2016 featured storms rumbling from coast to coast creating repeated bouts of tricky weather from California to New England and North Dakota to Texas.

The arrival of the new year hasn't changed Mother Nature's way of thinking: The coast-to-coast storms will roll on.

The latest is a two piece storm. One in the upper Plains and Midwest is carving a long path of snow and ice.

Not surprisiungly, there are winter weather advisories and warnings in a strip from Idaha and Montana, throught the Dakotas and Minnesota and into Wisconsin.

This is the same storm that brought three inches of snow to Seattle on New Year's Day. It was the first time measureable snow fell on January 1 there since 1950.

Meanwhile an even stronger - and more dangerous - storm is taking shape in Texas.

Both of these will affect Vermont by Tuesday. I'll get to that in a minute. The southern storm, I assure you, won't be nearly as dangerous here in the North Country as it will near the Gulf Coast.


Early this morning, a band of severe thunderstorms was in central Texas, affecting areas such as part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Waco.

This will get worse as the day wears on.  It's only January 2 and we're setting up for the first severe storm outbreak of the year.

There's a pretty strong risk of severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes, in eastern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, southeastern Arkansas and western Georgia today.

It's even possible one or two of the expected tornadoes turns out to be fairly strong and long lasting, so there is a risk to life and property today in the Gulf Coast states.

Last year - 2016 - was the fifth year in a row with a below normal number of tornadoes in the United States. Also, only 17 people in the U.S. died in tornadoes in 2016, the fewest number of twister deaths in any year except 1986 and 1912, notes Bob Henson at Weather Underground.

I have no idea if today's expected tornadoes mark the start of a reversal in the low tornado trend - there's no scientific basis to think either way - but it's only a matter of time that our relatively good luck regardng tornadoes runs out.

Today's severe weather outbreak certainly won't be the Worst Ever. But it's still something to keep an eye on.


The weaker northern storm will move into southern Canada, and will temporarily shield the Northeast from much cold air.

Meanwhile the southern storm will strengthen and move out of the Gulf Coast toward the Ohio Valley Tuesday.

There's signs that the storm's energy will transfer to the coast, spinning up a new storm over eastern New England.

Very often, this setup means a nice snowfall for Vermont and the rest of New England. But remember, I told you that other storm heading into Canada from the Great Lakes (and other factors) are shielding the region from cold air.

That means sleet and freezing rain will break out across much of New England Tuesday, then change to rain.

The exception is northern Maine, where it will remain cold enough for snow, sleet and freezing rain. It could be real trouble up there with a few inches of snow followed by possibly enough ice accumulation to bring down trees and power lines.

After the storm departs, the floodgates will open for cold air to come down from Canada.

It won't be anything extreme for January during the last half of the week, but you will definitely feel the bite.  There will probably be frequent, but rather light snow showers in the mountains Wednesday through at least Friday.


Beyond midweek and into at least the middle of the month, the weather pattern aross the United States looks like it will be quite active and stormy.

There's signs that an "atmospheric river" a fairly narrow band of air off the Pacific Ocean, will cause possibly prolong, heavy rain and mountain snow somewhere in California, but it's still unclear exactly where.

Atmospheric rivers are good drought denters, but they also dump torrential rains, creating flash floods, dangerous mud slides and debris flows where there have been wildfires. It could get dangerous out there.

The atmospheric river will contribute, along with several other factors, to continue that January storminess in the U.S.

It's way too soon to tease out who will get what and when beyond Wednesday, but it's something to keep watching.

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