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

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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!!!

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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
Quoting SuperYooper:


Don't know what your breeds are, but here is an article for you.

Thanx for that......
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Ok, will remember going forward, thanks for the tip!
Member Since: February 6, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 19
Quoting swampdawg:


LOL......ya i know what it's like to try and load 6 full grown, 50-90 lb. dogs into the back of my truck (which they are not to accustomed to riding in).....and just dropping them off at the boarding house.......LOL...i know, right?


But you don't need to drop them off at a boarding house, you can bring them in your own house, unless you want what Jeff said would happen. I mean c'mon, they're pets and they're just like we are when it comes to the cold.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting swampdawg:


LOL......ya i know what it's like to try and load 6 full grown, 50-90 lb. dogs into the back of my truck (which they are not to accustomed to riding in).....and just dropping them off at the boarding house.......LOL...i know, right?


Don't know what your breeds are, but here is an article for you.
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go to modify comment and back over it till it's blank and submit.  That blanks the post out, but it still shows that you posted.  But there's nothing in it.
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To the people who gave me heartfelt answers and advice.....i thank you. to the rest of you with the smart @$$ comments........no thanx.........LOL, I know right?!!
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
Could be worse, I see the all time record for Tallahassee is -2 F.


Yup.....I've been here 11 years now and the lowest so for for me was 17 a few years ago on a Sat morning....I am just upset that my weekend fishing plans for the next two weeks might have to take a backseat due to the very low temps (I wadefish for trout and reds) unless I purchase a wetsuit....I hope that this means that real Spring will come early in March after our usual coldest month in February....Stay warm everyone and take all proper precautions with your pets and plants next week in North Florida.
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Sorry gang, long time lurker, short time poster............how does one delete a post?
Member Since: February 6, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 19
Quoting caneswatch:


It's common sense, especially down here. Cover your plants and bring in the pets. Everyone should know to do that, it really shouldn't be a question.


Uh, ya, i know to do that........i was just trying to get some feedback......
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All time low for West Palm Beach was 24 degrees back in 1894. The low I see forecasted is going to be awfully close to breaking it.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting Jeff9641:


LOL!I know right!


LOL......ya i know what it's like to try and load 6 full grown, 50-90 lb. dogs into the back of my truck (which they are not to accustomed to riding in).....and just dropping them off at the boarding house.......LOL...i know, right?
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Could be worse, I see the all time record for Tallahassee is -2 F.
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Oh chill out, weathermanwannabe ;)
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
Oh, chill out weathermanwannabe ;)


I just did standing outside of work getting some "fresh air"......... :)
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Ah it's disappointing that there's a giant potent blue blob in the south that's actually pretty intensely blue in some areas, but no snow is hitting the ground.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
A cool story.
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+100
Member Since: February 6, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 19
Hey Yall......Just got the word that temps in Tallahassee may drop down to around 11 degrees next Monday night.........Almost makes me want to move back to South Florida....I thought that La Nina winters were supposed to be milder for the SE or did the Earth suddenly "tilt"... :)
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Quoting caneswatch:


It's common sense, especially down here. Cover your plants and bring in the pets. Everyone should know to do that, it really shouldn't be a question/


Zactly.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11394
If the boarding facility isn't filled up by other people thinking the same thing.  Maybe best to call them today and reserve places for your dogs.
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Or you can just take them to your vets to be boarded.

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128. eddye
below freezing 32
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Quoting Jeff9641:


LOL!I know right!


It's common sense, especially down here. Cover your plants and bring in the pets. Everyone should know to do that, it really shouldn't be a question.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting pottery:
Heh!!
It is very strange, for me, to check a Tropical Weather blog, and see just about all the comments discussing snow and freezing temps....

Who turned the Cold-Blast on again ???
Some Strange Northerner, with a warped sense of humor, is my guess.

Here, it is still raining.
But the rain is nice and warm LOL !


Oops. Sorry bout that. Someone put the big red button in front of me after I had been at the family Christmas party. And you know about Christmas parties. It was just a mistake. Honest.
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Quoting eddye:
jeff 9641 can u tell me the latest with the cold air next week for south florida and why dosent when i type my zip code it dosent show it yet
Most likely it'll be below freezing in the Miami area.
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124. eddye
jeff wat does the latest gfs show
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As long as they are healthy, not too young or too old and you can get them off the ground and out of the wind, they'll be fine. Worry isn't worth the time to do it though, so if you have any doubt, bring them in...
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Or you can just take them to your vets to be boarded.


LOL!I know right!
Member Since: November 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6577
Quoting swampdawg:
I just wonder.....even with lean to's and huts and blankets........how cold is finally TOO cold for the dogs.........i worry about this every year.


Or you can just take them to your vets to be boarded.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11394
I'd bring em in for the night then, if it was forecast to get into the teens. Since they are not used to it.  Might be a pain since they are not indoor dogs, but if it's just one night I would say deal with it---don't want frostbite on their ears!


Definitely bring them in if what this site says comes to pass.
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119. eddye
jeff 9641 can u tell me the latest with the cold air next week for south florida and why dosent when i type my zip code it dosent show it yet
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Quoting swampdawg:
I just wonder.....even with lean to's and huts and blankets........how cold is finally TOO cold for the dogs.........i worry about this every year.


Well if it's 15 to 18 which is expected you may just have frozen dogs by the time you wake up so i would say bring them in unless you want them a frozen dog cube.
Member Since: November 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6577
I can't find the reference to 5 C at the top of La Grande Soufriere when I looked at where I thought the reference was, so I'm letting that go.

It would be cool to have a weather observatory on the top of Pico Duarte in the Dominincan Republic and see how cold it can get there.
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Quoting eddye:
hey caneswatch u live in miami and where did u look up this


No, and it was on my local news.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
I just wonder.....even with lean to's and huts and blankets........how cold is finally TOO cold for the dogs.........i worry about this every year.
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
What did you do with your dogs when it was really cold for so long last January?  My guess would be to do now what you did then, if they were fine last year.


Last year i had made them a hut on the carport with blankets but i've since had to fence them up because of a neighbor complaining that one of his ducks went missing......sigh........so i'm forced to keep them locked up all day while i'm at work.
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113. eddye
hey caneswatch u live in miami and where did u look up this
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Pottery, here is the site that weatherhistorian vouched for

The Soufriere reading is not on that site, but I have seen it referred to and I am looking for it.
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What did you do with your dogs when it was really cold for so long last January?  My guess would be to do now what you did then, if they were fine last year.
Quoting swampdawg:
I have a question.......i live in SE Georgia and i have 6 outside dogs. Four of my dogs are in the back fenced in yard.....with 3 doghouses....a lean to made of plastic and the back porch deck is wrapped in plastic. The lean to is off the overhang of the house and angles down to the ground. They have blankets...........do you guys think they'll be ok with next weeks blast of colder air?

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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
There was a reading of 15.0 C / 59.0 in a place called Penal in Trinidad and Tobago.  I'm guessing the mountains can get down into the lower 50s.

The lowest reading I found in the lesser Antilles is 41 F (5 C)  on the top of Soufriere.

Checked 'weatherhistorian' blog....
where are you finding this info?

Penal is in the south of the Island, not far from the sea, low elevation.
I find that reading suspect, personally.
In the Northern Range, Max elevation 3024', I have no doubt the temps will get down to the lower 50's as you say.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Montgomery is about to get a decent snow anytime now.


None of it is hitting the ground. Lagrange, GA is under the heaviest of the "snow" right now and it's just cloudy there right now. Here in Macon, GA we are under blue but nothing is at the surface.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
From a link posted above on WU, LONDON (Dec. 8) -- Libya threatened "harsh" and "immediate" consequences for U.K. commercial interests and British diplomats if Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi died in prison...Link
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I have a question.......i live in SE Georgia and i have 6 outside dogs. Four of my dogs are in the back fenced in yard.....with 3 doghouses....a lean to made of plastic and the back porch deck is wrapped in plastic. The lean to is off the overhang of the house and angles down to the ground. They have blankets...........do you guys think they'll be ok with next weeks blast of colder air?
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There was a reading of 15.0 C / 59.0 in a place called Penal in Trinidad and Tobago.  I'm guessing the mountains can get down into the lower 50s.

The lowest reading I found in the lesser Antilles is 41 F (5 C)  on the top of Soufriere.
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
The record low for Port of Spain is 15.6 C / 60.1 F, from a site vouched for by weatherhistorian.


Wow!!
Thanks for that, and the link.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Yup very impressive cold blast coming this way.


Especially for this time of year. The earliest I remember seeing 20's here was New Year's 2001 or so.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting caneswatch:


Wa-wa-waaaaaa. As for the temperature subject you mentioned, the local met said that there would be mid-20's for lows out here this coming Tuesday where I live. Highs would struggle to reach 55 Monday.


Yup very impressive cold blast coming this way.
Member Since: November 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6577
Quoting Jeff9641:
Gators are going to lose a lot of recruits because of Urban Myer leaving.


They get most of them from down here in South Florida. A lot of them will be either going to The U or FSU.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting Jeff9641:
Gators Coach Urban Meyer Resigning

News Conference Scheduled At 6 p.m


Wa-wa-waaaaaa. As for the temperature subject you mentioned, the local met said that there would be mid-20's for lows out here this coming Tuesday where I live. Highs would struggle to reach 55 Monday.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Gators are going to lose a lot of recruits because of Urban Myer leaving.
Member Since: November 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6577

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

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