Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Winter and Spring Continue to Battle for Position

As mild as the month of March  has been to date across most of the country (and most of the winter, for that matter), it's somewhat surprising how tenacious winter has been in many areas. In most areas affected the winter weather has been tucked in between extended mild periods, but in the Rockies winter has returned for a longer stay.

During the past week a large portion of the country received snow, mostly in the west. However, snow also fell in the Northeast and New England, and today northern Maine was experiencing a good dose of winter with 3 to 6 inches of snow and 40 mph winds.

Total snow (L) and percent of normal snow (R) for the period March 22-29
Last week the storm that dumped a foot or more of snow on the Denver area affected the Plains and northern Midwest with snow sleet, and freezing rain.

72-hour snowfall for the period 7:00 a.m. CDT March 25, 2016

This storm also extended its influence into Canada. Southern Ontario was affected by freezing rain, sleet and snow, with ice accumulations of nearly an inch in some locations. In the Toronto area more than 38,000 customers lost power last week as power lines and trees collapsed under the weight of the ice.

Ice-coated trees in Alliston, Ontario on March 25.
Photo credit Melanie dePrinse via Twitter.

Today, another strong storm system has been spinning up over the Rockies. Snow is falling from west of Denver north into Wyoming, and extends west into Utah and Nevada. 

Forecast surface map for 12:00 a.m. MDT March 30, 2016.
Winter storm warnings extend from eastern Nevada into western Utah, southern Idaho, and much of Wyoming. Blizzard warnings are in effect from midnight tonight through 6:00 p.m. MDT tomorrow for parts of north-central Wyoming where heavy snow and north winds from 30-40 mph will produce whiteout conditions. Outside of the warning areas, winter weather advisories extend into South Dakota and Nebraska. This storm system is likely to continue the spread of winter weather eastward through the upper Midwest and into Ontario and Quebec through Friday.

Watches, warnings, and advisories as of 5:48 p.m. MDT March 29

Probability of snow accumulation of 2 inches or more during the period
7:00 p.m. CDT March 29 through 7:00 p.m. CDT Friday, April 1.

This may not be the last of wintry weather, either, at least not for the eastern U.S. The 6-10 temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a higher probability of below normal temperatures in the northeastern third of the country, with a very high likelihood of below normal temperature in the northeast and New England. In the remainder of the country spring will get a good foothold.

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