Major Pacific Northwest winter storm poised to slam Eastern U.S. this weekend

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on December 08, 2010

Share this Blog
2
+

A major winter storm powered ashore today in the Pacific Northwest, bringing heavy rain and snow to the Olympic Mountains. This storm dumped four inches of rain over the Olympics, bringing the Skokomish River to flood stage. Record warm temperatures ahead of the storm have surged northwards across the Pacific Northwest, with Seattle, Washington hitting a record high of 55°F yesterday. Snowfall amounts approaching 2 feet are expected in the Olympic Mountains from the storm, with 1 - 3 feet likely in the Cascade Mountains. This is typical sort of storm one expects to see during a La Niña winter.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated precipitation from the Seattle radar for the period Dec 7 - Dec 8. Precipitation amounts in excess of 4 inches have occurred over the Olympic Mountains. Mountains surrounding Seattle block the radar beam, leading to the streaky nature of the image.

As the storm tracks eastwards over the Central U.S. later this week, it will intensify and pull in a large amount of cold, Canadian air. The latest set of computer model runs have come into much better agreement on the track of the storm, and a band of heavy snow of 6 - 10 inches is likely to set up over Central Illinois on Saturday afternoon. The storm will move rapidly eastwards, with the heaviest snow likely to impact northern Indiana, northern Ohio, and southern Ontario on Sunday. The biggest cold blast of the season thus far will roar in behind the storm, causing widespread blowing and drifting of the snow, plus new heavy Lake-effect snows in the lee of the Great Lakes. Low temperatures approaching -20°F are likely in northern Minnesota Saturday and Sunday night after the storm passes. By Tuesday morning, much of the eastern half of the nation will shiver through one the coldest mornings on record for the first half of December, with below freezing temperatures expected to penetrate all the way into South Florida. Record lows were set across much of Southeast U.S. this morning, with 39°F at Fort Lauderdale, 16°F in Columbia SC, and 9°F in Lychburg, VA. Temperatures much colder than this are likely on Tuesday morning across the region.


Figure 2. Forecast surface temperature for 7am EST on Tuesday, December 14, as predicted by this morning's 1am EST run of the GFS model. The heavy red line running along the coast of Florida is the 0°C freezing line, and temperatures below freezing are expected across nearly all of the Southeast U.S.

I'll have a new post on Thursday, when I'll discuss the CSU and TSR forecasts for the 2011 hurricane season. The TSR forecast was released Monday, and the CSU forecast is due out later today.

Jeff Masters

LAKE EFFECT SNOW SQUALL (charlesimages)
An image from the Lake Effect Snow Chase that Matt and I went on. CLICK HERE for the entire chase account detailed with videos and photos!
LAKE EFFECT SNOW SQUALL
To much snow!!!

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 200 - 150

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6Blog Index

For West Palm Beach...not as cold as forecasted earlier today:

Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11012
Quoting OrchidGrower:
Anybody else in Florida feeling the horror, the Horror, yet?? Thank God for Jeff Masters fishing out the info we've gotten to date on the negative NAO. Why isn't anyone else talking about the sea-ice loss/NAO correlation nationally, or internationally?


Yah, the negative NAO is an important fact that I learned on this blog (cannot remember if it was Doc or somebody else who brought that out though).

I've actually used that in conversations with folks about the cold.

Actually, I like this here in Houston (except the lack of rain). Just above freezing... plants are still doing well and blooming!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting OrchidGrower:
Anybody else in Florida feeling the horror, the Horror, yet?? Thank God for Jeff Masters fishing out the info we've gotten to date on the negative NAO. Why isn't anyone else talking about the sea-ice loss/NAO correlation nationally, or internationally?

I don't know about the rest of my fellow Floridians, but I just moved here a year and a half ago, spent thou$ands on landscape -- trees -- and now am facing a second winter in a row where I could lose all of it. And on a much grander scale, this type of altered climate for the Eastern US and Western Europe has massive financial implications: Heavier use of heating oil, road salt, the destruction to cars and roads from salt and freezing, lost business, lost wages, more debt, strain on power grid, competition for oil, gas and coal, etc.

On the plus side, it looks like I'll be stimulating the economy with a trip to buy a few hundred little lights to string up in my trees, along with a whole buncha blankets!

Yes i also agree with the plants getting killed every year. This is florida not supose to happen. I also put out the blankets and if it goes below 25 that dont work, so this time i plugged in a little heater and my trees didnt get the frost we had.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


i added another stack of 48 to the other 48 if we are to get him it may as well be good

does the one i won't mention like a white christmas or a green christmas


I'm glad its warm here.. because its just p*** down rain right now.. The mountains have to be getting hammered with snow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Anybody else in Florida feeling the horror, the Horror, yet?? Thank God for Jeff Masters fishing out the info we've gotten to date on the negative NAO. Why isn't anyone else talking about the sea-ice loss/NAO correlation nationally, or internationally?

I don't know about the rest of my fellow Floridians, but I just moved here a year and a half ago, spent thou$ands on landscape -- trees -- and now am facing a second winter in a row where I could lose all of it. And on a much grander scale, this type of altered climate for the Eastern US and Western Europe has massive financial implications: Heavier use of heating oil, road salt, the destruction to cars and roads from salt and freezing, lost business, lost wages, more debt, strain on power grid, competition for oil, gas and coal, etc.

On the plus side, it looks like I'll be stimulating the economy with a trip to buy a few hundred little lights to string up in my trees, along with a whole buncha blankets!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
193. Bonz
This South Floridian is *loving* this weather. Hope we get a cool Christmas Eve this year. **crosses fingers**. If not, at least I got a great lead-up to the holiday. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
The bigger story is that once we hit around 6PM Sunday, we won't hit a temperature above freezing until late Tuesday, or possibly Wednesday.

more like wed before warm temps start to rtn also another plains low should be getting its act together by then on the building rtn flow this one should pull up the warm air and establish a zonal flow

inside comment
(thats when fans go down for maintenance)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLWaterFront:


No, that is an exaggeration and an incorrect stereotype.

Don't forget, most of us either came from somewhere with colder winter weather and/or have lived in such areas. Therefore, we hardly think of 55F as either "cold" or for that matter, at all unpleasant.

I in fact long for 55 degree temps. It is the heat and humidity of summer that I could stand to have less of around here.

What you might read on here next week would be things like this:

"It was 15 degrees on my front porch this morning. Brrrr.."

Or, even more likely...

"Does anyone know what our chances are of getting some snow with this next cold outbreak? I am hoping and praying that we will get rewarded with a nice white coating this time around."

Yes let me chime in here. I love the cold weather we get in florida. Like this morning 22 degrees and lots of frost. looked like it snowed. Only down in fl because this is were my job is at. Now Alaska that sounds like fun.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


I'm not going to ask him.. he is going to blame KOG and I for it anyway :(


i added another stack of 48 to the other 48 if we are to get him it may as well be good

does the one i won't mention like a white christmas or a green christmas
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Oh lord.I can see it next week on the blog here's what you floridians are going to possibly say..(I'm freezing it's 55 degrees outside!!).And us northerns are just going to be luaghing.Oh I'm defintally going to be on the blog next week!!.If theirs one thing I've learned It's that Floridians and cold,don't get along.


No, that is an exaggeration and an incorrect stereotype.

Don't forget, most of us either came from somewhere with colder winter weather and/or have lived in such areas. Therefore, we hardly think of 55F as either "cold" or for that matter, at all unpleasant.

I in fact long for 55 degree temps. It is the heat and humidity of summer that I could stand to have less of around here.

What you might read on here next week would be things like this:

"It was 15 degrees on my front porch this morning. Brrrr.."

Or, even more likely...

"Does anyone know what our chances are of getting some snow with this next cold outbreak? I am hoping and praying that we will get rewarded with a nice white coating this time around."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks for adding my photo to your blog Jeff Masters! More snow on the way Thursday night into Friday and an even bigger storm system possible this weekend, I'll be chasing again during one or both of those events depending on how favorable things look.

-CR
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Hurrican Swirl...I drove up to see my brother in Ohio over Thanksgiving...I always took the by-pass around Macon ,but this time I stayed on I-75...My ex would have loved it because you have a "Bass Pro Shops"


Yeah we do haha. The one around here devotes a large portion to boats, which is kind of funny considering we really have no place to put them other than one or two small lakes.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Hurrican Swirl...I drove up to see my brother in Ohio over Thanksgiving...I always took the by-pass around Macon ,but this time I stayed on I-75...My ex would have loved it because you have a "Bass Pro Shops"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


I'm not going to ask him.. he is going to blame KOG and I for it anyway :(


Lol. *tiny violin*
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
The bigger story is that once we hit around 6PM Sunday, we won't hit a temperature above freezing until late Tuesday, or possibly Wednesday.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


I also live in Macon and I've talked with RTLSNK a few times but yeah just a couple flurries here.


I'm not going to ask him.. he is going to blame KOG and I for it anyway :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:
Complete Update

I would ask RTLSNK what the pretty pink and white clouds are suppose to be over his house.... but I am pretty sure it would not be a printable response :)







I also live in Macon and I've talked with RTLSNK a few times but yeah just a couple flurries here.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Patrap........The day the music died was always related to Buddy Holly, but I really wasn't in that era...I was in the 60's hippie era and loved the Fab Four...I remember the Ed Sullivan Show(shoe) when the Beatles appeared in 64...Me and my sister got gooose bumbs and cried...That I will never, ever forget....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Complete Update

I would ask RTLSNK what the pretty pink and white clouds are suppose to be over his house.... but I am pretty sure it would not be a printable response :)





Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jeff9641:
SNOW in MACON right now and accumulating


No it's not.. I live in Macon and while TWC has been saying snow for a while, the snow is very limited and light and is not accumulating.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
There are so many stories and so many posts the last few days about the brutal cold in south Florida...One thing I do know is this Florida girl froze her buns off.I hate it. I won't mention the "headlight" remarks... This is not the Florida I know in Palm Beach county.
My heater is running 24 hours a day. I saw this freekin' surfer guy this morning trying to ride the waves...NOW THAT is crazy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
With the recent cold weather and forecasts for more next week, I am not surprised to see that the AGW crowd has finally zipped up. It's hard to preach their theory which is based on falsified data, when the thermometer says 26.


You just don't get it - do you. The cold is caused by AGW. Simple. Everything is caused by AGW.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
...Im just sitting here watching the wheel's go round and round,...I really Love to watch them roll"...


WORDS, MUSIC, & PHOTOGRAPHY: John Lennon. The Day the Music Died.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jedkins01:


No not really, it gets a lot colder in Florida then you think, I had to scrape a layer of ice off my window this morning, and not too far north of here the low was 22, probably colder than where you live even though your farther north lol.

Believe it or not, but the ground in Florida is more efficient at removing heat than many places further north, so when cold air masses slide in here, it can get very very cold at night.

Also, I don't complain over high temperatures of 55 degrees, I think it feels great and I wish we had these temperatures a lot more this time of year.

Thankfully so far it may turn out be below normal winter like last winter. I love the warm weather of spring and summer, but its booring to have 70's and 80's all year long, I don't get some of my friends are complaining and would rather have more 80's in december and january. Yuck!!

Highs in the 40's and 50's and lows in the 30's and 20's is perfect winter weather if you ask me, I love this.
I didn't say everyone from florida complains about the cold.Some may love it becuase they are tired of the almost all year round 60+ temps they get.Hmmm I may need to spend probally a whole month in Florida to see how this unusual climate works.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
171. DDR
None stop rain here in Trinidad
4 inches here since yesterday
Many places are under water
When will this end???

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services is
issuing a riverine flood alert for Trinidad having
regard to the occurrence of persistent rainfall
activity over the last 18 %u2013 24 hours.
This latest rainfall event began favouring the
northeast sector of Trinidad and has already
emptied considerable precipitation to engineer
riverine floods but isolated to this region.
The center is now shifting with maximum
concentrations eclipsing central Trinidad, parts
of North Trinidad and areas of South Trinidad.
These locations are already estimated to have
received between 50 %u2013 60 millimeters of
rainfall.



The atmospheric dynamics is showing a tendency for
the northern fringes of Inter-Tropical Convergence
Zone (ITCZ) to merge with this quasi-stationary
shear line currently affecting both Trinidad and
Tobago. This possible development together with
an upper level trough and highly supportive upper
level flows may broaden the area of instability to
unleash a new burst of energy capable of producing
significant rainfall overnight into tomorrow.
Conservative estimates are for between 75-100
millimeters of rainfall accumulation.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hurricane-related story:

Cat Returns Home 5 Years After Hurricane Katrina

Everybody say, "Awwwwwwww..." ;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting supercoachdave:
Strange how they forecast a higher probability in Orlando over Pensacola and Jacksonville.

They have a 0% chance for NOLA, too, so I guess they expect a lobe of cold, moist air to shoot right down the spine of Florida. Even Okeechobee, which sits at a latitude hundreds of miles farther south than NOLA, currently has a 1% chance.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
Intellicast is currently giving the following snow chances for these Florida cities over the next 10 days:

Miami: 0%
Daytona: 1%
Tampa: 2%
Jacksonville: 3%
Pensacola: 3%
Lake City: 4%
Orlando: 4%
Tallahassee: 9%

And these--
New Orleans, LA: 0%
Mobile, AL: 5%
Savannah, GA: 8%
Valdosta, GA: 12%
Macon, GA: 12%

Yikes...


Here in Macon, GA it actually started snowing now. Look it up on TWC. It's extremely light though.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting Jedkins01:


No not really, it gets a lot colder in Florida then you think, I had to scrape a layer of ice off my window this morning, and not too far north of here the low was 22, probably colder than where you live even though your farther north lol.

Believe it or not, but the ground in Florida is more efficient at removing heat than many places further north, so when cold air masses slide in here, it can get very very cold at night.

Also, I don't complain over high temperatures of 55 degrees, I think it feels great and I wish we had these temperatures a lot more this time of year.

Thankfully so far it may turn out be below normal winter like last winter. I love the warm weather of spring and summer, but its booring to have 70's and 80's all year long, I don't get some of my friends are complaining and would rather have more 80's in december and january. Yuck!!

Highs in the 40's and 50's and lows in the 30's and 20's is perfect winter weather if you ask me, I love this.


To add to that. I don't think many Northerners realize that Florida's climate is much more dynamic than they think. For instance, its pretty for highs in the middle 50s in the Panhandle in the middle of Winter with lows close to freezing. We do not have the 70 or 80 degree whether that Southern and Central Florida has up here in the Panhandle.
Member Since: January 6, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 339
Re-loaded

UNYSIS GFSX 500 mb Day 4.5 out
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Oh lord.I can see it next week on the blog here's what you floridians are going to possibly say..(I'm freezing it's 55 degrees outside!!).And us northerns are just going to be luaghing.Oh I'm defintally going to be on the blog next week!!.If theirs one thing I've learned It's that Floridians and cold,don't get along.


No not really, it gets a lot colder in Florida then you think, I had to scrape a layer of ice off my window this morning, and not too far north of here the low was 22, probably colder than where you live even though your farther north lol.

Believe it or not, but the ground in Florida is more efficient at removing heat than many places further north, so when cold air masses slide in here, it can get very very cold at night.

Also, I don't complain over high temperatures of 55 degrees, I think it feels great and I wish we had these temperatures a lot more this time of year.

Thankfully so far it may turn out be below normal winter like last winter. I love the warm weather of spring and summer, but its booring to have 70's and 80's all year long, I don't get some of my friends are complaining and would rather have more 80's in december and january. Yuck!!

Highs in the 40's and 50's and lows in the 30's and 20's is perfect winter weather if you ask me, I love this.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Doometh by cold in theory,..

The Oranges will be silently screaming,..

.."The Horror,the Horror"...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oh lord.I can see it next week on the blog here's what you floridians are going to possibly say..(I'm freezing it's 55 degrees outside!!).And us northerns are just going to be luaghing.Oh I'm defintally going to be on the blog next week!!.If theirs one thing I've learned It's that Floridians and cold,don't get along.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Here is the new Florida Chamber of Commerce commercial.

Caption: Come to sunny Florida and frolick on our snow-capped beaches and build you own snowman.



And don't forget the ice scraper.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Here is the new Florida Chamber of Commerce commercial.

Caption: Come to sunny Florida and frolick on our snow-capped beaches and build you own snowman.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Strange how they forecast a higher probability in Orlando over Pensacola and Jacksonville.
Member Since: February 6, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 19
Frost this morning in South Dade. Ice on the windshield of the car when I went to work this morning, which is not normal. Crops in the redlands (deep South Miami-Dade County) were frosted.

I see another blast is coming this weekend. Could be a record breaking cold winter for us down here. I may have to find an ice scraper if this keeps up.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Intellicast is currently giving the following snow chances for these Florida cities over the next 10 days:

Miami: 0%
Daytona: 1%
Tampa: 2%
Jacksonville: 3%
Pensacola: 3%
Lake City: 4%
Orlando: 4%
Tallahassee: 9%

And these--
New Orleans, LA: 0%
Mobile, AL: 5%
Savannah, GA: 8%
Valdosta, GA: 12%
Macon, GA: 12%

Yikes...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
152. Jax82
Glad we are getting all this cold air in now, i want to be in a bathing suit new years day :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
151. Grecojdw
9:12 PM GMT on December 08, 2010
Yeah I don't think the forecast has yet to reflect the GFS temperature estimates for the Fort Walton Beach, Fl/Pensacola,Fl/Mobile, Al area yet. All this speculation of the coldest temperatures of the year yet today's high of only 41 and lows in the low 20s tonight is several degrees colder for what they expect on Monday night. I wonder what gives and when they will up date their temperature charts (NOAA and Accuweather). Heck, usually bullish Accuweather is still being conservative for my general area.
Member Since: January 6, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 339
150. caneswatch
9:08 PM GMT on December 08, 2010
Quoting swampdawg:


Uh, ya, i know to do that........i was just trying to get some feedback......


Seriously, if there was even a thought that you were going to keep your dogs outside in that kind of cold, even with blankets, is absolutely just flat out wrong. No pet could survive it.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553

Viewing: 200 - 150

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.