Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Storm A Huge Mess In Northern Plains

I don't think it will get this bad in North Dakota this weekend,
but they're still due for a wicked, wicked blizzard 
As expected, the Dakotas are going to be ground zero for an intense winter storm this Christmas weekend but the sprawling system is having coast-to-coast effects.

The blizzard warning covers all but southeastern North Dakota and the western third of South Dakota.

There, six to 12 inches of new snow, propelled by winds gusting to or even above 55 mph, will create a dangerous whiteout, making travel impossible on Christmas Day.

Overall, the storm has slowed down a bit, so the worst effects of the blizzards and ice and such will be during the day Christmas, Christmas night an on into Monday

The southern and eastern edges of the blizzard zone will probably get a period of sleet and freezing rain  mixing in, which will only make the situation worse.

I think South Dakota wins the jackpot for the most variety of bad or dangerous weather out of this strong storm. We already mentioned the blizzard warning in the western part of that state.

Central South Dakota and eastern areas of the state north of Sioux Falls are in for freezing rain and gusty winds. In most spots, the freezing rain won't accumulate enough to bring down trees and power lines, though wind gusts of up to 50 mph won't help. Plus the roads will be very icy

The southeastern corner of South Dakota, where many of my relatives are gathered (in Yankton) for Christmas, will get a little freezing drizzle, then rain and possible thunderstorms, which is odd for Christmas. One or two of the thunderstorms might be strong.

The possibility of severe thunderstorms with this huge storm is even stronger in Nebraska and  Kansas, again, much further north than we're used to seeing in late December. Strong straight line winds are the biggest threats with the Christmas thunderstorms.

Minnesota is screwed with this storm, too.  Far northern Minnesota is in for a snowstorm, with a fair amount of sleet and freezing rain mixed in.

Central Minnesota, northwest of Minneapolis, is under an ice storm warnng. There, a fairly heavy accumulation of ice, combines with winds gusting to 40 mph will probably bring down quite a few power lines, trees and branches.

Elsewhere in the nation, the effects of this storm won't be quite as intense, but they will be felt. Almost all of the Rocky Mountains are under winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories.

It'll also get quite windy in parts of the Rockies and western High Plains all the way down into Texas.

In the Northeast, the storm will produce a brief bout of rain early in the week, with an icy mix in northern New York and northern New England, To make matters worse up here in the North Country, winds could gust to 50 mph or so Monday and Tuesday, with the inevitable scattered power outages coming out of that as well.

After that, the details on the nation's weather are sketchy, as computer models are all over the place, except for this one area of agreement: It looks like it will be a very active weather pattern at least into the first week of January, and probably beyond.

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