Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snow from the Desert Southwest to the Plains

500 Millibar map for 5:00 PST February 21, 2013
Many residents of southern Arizona experienced a rare event on Wednesday - snow! The upper  level low associated with the storm now spinning over the Central Plains produced snow from Phoenix to Tuscon.  On Tuesday night the snow was further north in and around Flagstaff, but the cold pushed south early Wednesday. Winter storm warnings remained in effect for southeastern Arizona through late last night with significant accumulations above 2500 feet.  Snow is not unprecedented in Tucson. Tuscon recorded a trace on February 27, 2011, and measured a half inch of snow or more on five days om January-February 1990.

While most of the precipitation Phoenix was rain, snow and graupel was also observed. Snow covered the roads around Scottsdale coated the Superstition Mountains outside of Phoenix.

2 inches of snow on the east side of Tucson, near Civano.
Credit: NWS Tucson

Snow along Loop 101 at Indian Bend Road in Scottsdale on Wednesday. 
Credit: Arizona Dept. of Transportation

This morning the low pressure center is located over western Texas, and winter precipitation was falling from  the Texas Panhandle to the Mississippi River, and north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The footprint of this system is rather impressive. Snow has been falling at the rate of two to three inches per hours in Kansas and western Missouri, occasionally accompanied by thunder and lightning.  If you are in an area affected by this storm, be sure to keep abreast of the latest conditions through your local NWS website or NOAA weather radio.


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