The Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011?

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

A fairly massive winter storm is developing along the US Rocky Mountain front . It threatens possible blizzard conditions from the Central Plains to New England. Forecasters have already named it the Groundhog Day Storm. Winter storms of this extent are fairly rare in the US . The classic example is the historic Blizzard of 1888 in March of that year. It extended from Nebraska to New England with hurricane force winds, 1-2 meters of snow with drifts up to 10 meters (over 30 ft) and subzero F temperatures (below -18C).

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/01/staten_island_ny_--_another_wi.html
 

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  • #2
russ_watters
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Dunno, my local weather forecaster is pretty good and he's not thinking this one looks bigger than the last one....though the last one was underestimated by a good 50%....

"Massive" and "affecting 100 million people" just means it is widespread, it doesn't necessarily imply powerful.
 
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  • #3
Astronuc
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or could it be more like the 1993 Storm of the Century
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Storm_of_the_Century

I had to spend Friday night in New Orleans because the flights to the east coast were cancelled. Only flights going west were operating - if the connecting flight came in.

On Sat. morning, my colleagues and I got to Charlotte, where we made our connection to LGA. We were 15 minutes to landing at LGA when the airport was closed. So, we turned around and flew back to Charlotte - as opposed to being diverted to a nearby airport that was still open. We spent the rest of Sat, and then Sun and Monday in Charlotte. We got to LGA on Tuesday afternoon.
 
  • #4
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Dunno, my local weather forecaster is pretty good and he's not thinking this one looks bigger than the last one....though the last one was underestimated by a good 50%....

"Massive" and "affecting 100 million people" just means it is widespread, it doesn't necessarily imply powerful.
True. But I think the recent storm that dropped 19 inches (48 cm) of snow on New York City and 17 inches on Philadelphia was a just a coastal storm. Storms that affect the Central Plains usually don't affect the Northeast coastal areas in a major way as this one is predicted to do. Of course, it's still pretty early.
 
  • #5
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or could it be more like the 1993 Storm of the Century
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Storm_of_the_Century
I was in NJ on business and just decided to stay in my hotel for the weekend. That storm was very powerful, but it was mainly a coastal storm. The normal pattern of this one would be to affect the plains and sometimes the upper Midwest. They generally weaken and run up into Canada. The fact that they are predicting this storm to also affect the coastal NE is ominous. This was the rare pattern of the Blizzard of 1888, where a coastal disturbance developed as the continental storm moved in from the west tracking further south than the normal path. The two cells joined off the NJ coast.
 
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  • #7
Astronuc
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Here's another reference to type of storm we could experience
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nor'easter

I'll be clearing the roof of snow and ice. We still have about a foot of melted snow on our roof - actually three layers of snow and ice from three previous storms.

The blizzard of 1888 was quite an event in our area. I think there was significant flooding that spring.
 
  • #8
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Good; then it will be cloudy and winter will be almost over.

attachment.php?attachmentid=31762&stc=1&d=1296415894.jpg
 

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  • #9
jtbell
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Oh no, not again! :bugeye:

[PLAIN]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e8/189656%7EGroundhog-Day-Posters.jpg [Broken]
 
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  • #10
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At least those people get a snowstorm. Down here in Texas, we rarely get snow. If we do, it never exceeds six inches. Plus, the ground's so warm the snow melts as soon as it hits the ground.
 
  • #12
Astronuc
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I lived in Texas - Houston and Bryan/College Station. We did have snow that stuck to the ground for more than a day - although it was only a few inches.


In my current neighborhood, the prediction is for 7-14 inches (18-35 cm) of snow through Tuesday night followed by sleet and freezing rain on Wed (if the warm air moves up our way). If the cold air pushes further south, we'll get more snow.

Further north, some places may get up to 30 inches (76 cm) of snow during the next two days.

From the National Weather Service:
A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TUESDAY TO
6 AM EST THURSDAY.

* LOCATIONS: (local area).

* HAZARDS: HEAVY SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.

. . . .
 
  • #13
turbo
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I lived in Texas - Houston and Bryan/College Station. We did have snow that stuck to the ground for more than a day - although it was only a few inches.


In my current neighborhood, the prediction is for 7-14 inches (18-35 cm) of snow through Tuesday night followed by sleet and freezing rain on Wed (if the warm air moves up our way). If the cold air pushes further south, we'll get more snow.

Further north, some places may get up to 30 inches (76 cm) of snow during the next two days.
It could get "interesting" here. I hope not.
 
  • #14
D H
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The current forecast for Houston has a 40% chance of snow Thursday night / Friday morning. The forecast high for Feb 2 is lower than the record low for that date. So even this far south things will, in turbo's words, get "interesting".
 
  • #15
russ_watters
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Here's the latest update as of 1230 EST 31/01/11. The storm track seems to be following a more normal course than first anticipated, meaning the big coastal cities of the NE US will be spared the worst as the predicted storm track is now to the north of these locations. However, heavy icing may occur on the coast.

http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/story/45169/disruptive_northeast_snow_ice.asp
That explains why my local guy didn't see this as being too big.....it'll be messy though.
 
  • #16
Evo
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The current forecast for Houston has a 40% chance of snow Thursday night / Friday morning. The forecast high for Feb 2 is lower than the record low for that date. So even this far south things will, in turbo's words, get "interesting".
When I lived in Houston, a slight dusting of snow once every 20 years was the norm, now it seems to be yearly. What's up?
 
  • #17
turbo
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When I lived in Houston, a slight dusting of snow once every 20 years was the norm, now it seems to be yearly. What's up?
That's God's way of telling us that there are too many people in Houston. (Pat Robertson told me.)
 
  • #18
turbo
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Now, the radio guys are talking about 12-20" even though we might be on the northern edge of the storm. If that happens, Mass ought to be looking out for 3 feet before taking any drifting into consideration.
 
  • #19
turbo
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Farther to the south, on the warm edge of the storm, lots of states might be looking at freezing rain, which is a much more expensive to deal with than snow. Broken branches, fallen trees, and downed power lines have to be dealt with piecemeal and it can take days or weeks to get back to "normal" even if there is not a lot of snow to deal with.
 
  • #20
Astronuc
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It may not be the biggest storm, but the system is widespread.

It started here at around 0400 with about 1 inch of snow by 0600. It's variable from flurries or fine particles followed by moderate snow (about 1 inch/hr). We are supposed to get heavy snow this afternoon. In one of the previous storms, we had about 3-4 inches per hour at one point, and we couldn't see the tree about 30 feet from the back door.

Meanwhile, the NY Times reports Tuesday's Forecast: Horrific
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/us/01midwest.html


Update: we had about the upper estimate of snow ~6 inches - about 4-5 inches of snow with the rest being a mix of snow pellets (like sleet but puffy not icy), sleet and snow flakes alternating. And now it's just light snow small particles). Schools are closed for today.
 
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  • #21
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At least those people get a snowstorm. Down here in Texas, we rarely get snow. If we do, it never exceeds six inches. Plus, the ground's so warm the snow melts as soon as it hits the ground.
As long as Gerry Jones keeps his roof closed on Sunday it does not matter all that much. Chicago weather is much talked about, but Green Bay weather is ledgendary.
 
  • #22
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It was supposed to be -21 F this morning here in Colorado Springs, but it was "just" -13, two degrees warmer than it was early yesterday morning.

Still, it's a deeper freeze than my freezer!
 

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