Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Winter Won't Let Go

Spring 2014 has been a roller coaster ride for much of the country. The month of March was a cold one east of the Rockies, and nationally was the 43rd coldest March on record and the coldest since 2002.  The first two weeks of April have held a little more promise, teasing us with brief periods of warm weather. The latest "bait and switch" occurred this past seven days. There was a nice warm-up this weekend as a developing low over the Central Plains combined with a high pressure system along the east coast produced strong southerly winds and boosted temperatures into the 70s and even low 80s as far north Chicago. Temperatures were a summer-like mid 80s in the Central Plains. Lincoln, Nebraska reachd 85°F on Saturday, one degree short of the record for April 12.

Surface temperatures at 4:00 p.m. CDT Saturday, April 12

24 hours later it was in the 30s and snowing. This morning Lincoln reached a  morning low of 19°F shattering the old record of 24°F.

Surface temperatures at 7:00 a.m. CDT Tuesday, April 15
While central portions of the country were enjoying warm weather snow was falling in the Rockies from Montana through Wyoming and Colorado into New Mexico as the low continued to organize over the Plains. By Sunday the system was pressing eastward, with rain changing to snow in the Arctic air behind the front.

Surface map at 1:00 p.m. CDT on Sunday, April 13.
Snow fell from Nebraska through much of Iowa, central and southern Wisconsin, and the Michigan U.P. Snow amounts ranged from 4 to 8 inches in Wisconsin and Michigan. On Monday light snow fell across northern and central Illinois, northern Indiana, lower Michigan and Ohio.

72-hour snowfall ending Tuesday morning, April 15.
As the front pushed through the Gulf States it kicked off severe thunderstorms across eastern Texas, northern Louisiana and central Mississippi. Further south, heavy rain fell from Mobile, Alabama east into the Florida Panhandle. Three to more than four inch amounts were common, but just east of Mobile Bay rainfall ranged from six to more than inches. Two CoCoRaHS observers north of Fairhope, AL reported 9.19 and 9.79 inches of rain this morning.

CoCoRaHS precipitation amounts in southern Mississippi, Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle for the 24 hour period ending the morning of April 15.

Freeze warnings are in effect for much of the southeastern United overnight, and Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories extend from central Minnesota across northern Wisconsin and the Michigan U.P .through Thursday morning. Up to a foot of snow is possible across northern Wisconsin into the western U.P.

Watches, warnings and advisories as of 11:30 p.m. CDT April 15
This was probably winter's last gasp in the Plains and Midwest, but the northern Great Lakes and northern New England could see more snow this weekend.

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