Winter storm brings tornadoes, heavy snow, and ice this week: State by state

By: Angela Fritz , 5:00 AM GMT on December 26, 2012

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Severe Storms

Severe storms are expected to continue in the Southeast U.S. tonight, and you can read a recap of today's storms in Shaun Tanner's blog. Our preliminary tornado count is 21 (up from 19 earlier), which could be a new Christmas Day record (see below for more Christmas Day tornado statistics). The Storm Prediction Center has extended the "moderate risk" of severe weather into Wednesday, though don't be fooled by the term "moderate" -- this is a very dangerous storm with a history of producing large, incredibly destructive tornadoes. The highest risk for tornadoes on Wednesday exists in the central to eastern Carolinas. Like Tuesday, the tornado threat will begin in the morning, and strong, long-track supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes will be possible, especially entering the afternoon and evening hours. Widespread, damaging wind gusts are also likely. Thunderstorms with large hail and damaging wind will spread across Georgia and Florida throughout the day as the line moves eastward with the storm.

Stay up to date with Wundermap: Check your county's advisories.


Current Northeast U.S. weather advisories.


Current Southeast U.S. weather advisories.

Winter Weather

Stay up to date with Wundermap: Check your county's advisories.

On Tuesday night, winter weather advisories related to this storm extended from Texas and Oklahoma to Maine, covering 21 states. Driving in northern Texas was a nightmare as roads iced over. I-35 and I-30 around Dallas were particularly treacherous. Thundersnow was reported near the North Little Rock Airport in Arkansas around 9pm CST Tuesday evening, which confirms that this storm is powerful with strong uplift. Snow, blizzard conditions, and wintry mix will be easing up in Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas by mid-morning on Wednesday. Blizzard conditions are expected to either continue or begin on Wednesday from southern Illinois and western Kentucky up through northeast Ohio.

Arkansas

Heavy snow is falling Tuesday evening in central Arkansas north of Little Rock. Blizzard conditions will remain possible through Wednesday morning in the northeast portion of the state. Little Rock, Arkansas saw it's snowiest day since January 6, 1988 on Tuesday. 12" of snow was reported in Vandervoort, AR, and 7.5 inches fell in Pine Ridge, AR. Both of these observations were taken around 8pm CST on Tuesday.

Missouri

The heavy snow, which began Tuesday night, will be confined to the southeast part of Missouri, though a dusting to a couple of inches could accumulate in Springfield and St. Louis. Wind gusts could reach 40 mph, and a blizzard warning is in effect for far southeast Missouri until 12pm CST on Wednesday, meaning visibility will likely be low and travel will be difficult. 6-12 inches of snow is possible in southeast Missouri.

Tennessee

Very heavy rain is falling in Tennessee on Tuesday evening, and a winter weather advisory is in effect for far western counties, including the city of Nashville, until 4pm CST on Wednesday. 1-2 inches of snow accumulation is expected there after rain changes to snow late in the morning and into the afternoon.

Illinois

Snow showers and a wintry mix have begun in southern Illinois on Tuesday night. This will turn to all snow overnight. The heaviest snow will fall in southern Illinois, where 6-12 inches of snow is expected to fall. In the northern portion of the warned areas (Olney, Effingham, Mattoon, Paris) 4-9 inches will be more common. Wind gusts could reach 40 mph, and a blizzard warning is in effect for southeast Illinois until 12pm CST on Wednesday, which means visibility will be low and travel will be difficult.

Indiana

A wintry mix will turn into snow overnight and snow will being to taper off late Wednesday morning. Wind gusts could reach 45 mph, and a blizzard warning is in effect until 12pm CST on Wednesday in southern Indiana, and until 7pm EST in central Indiana. Visibility will be low and travel will be difficult.

4-8 inches is expected in far southern Indiana
10-14 inches of snow is expected in south-central Indiana
8-12 inches of snow is expected in east-central Indiana

Kentucky

A wintry mix will turn into snow overnight and snow will being to taper off late Wednesday morning. Heavy snow will be confined to the far western part of the state. 8-12 inches is possible. Winds could gust up to 45 mph and a blizzard warning is in effect, which means visibility will be low and travel will be difficult.

Michigan

In southern Michigan, accumulations of 3-5 inches will be common. Winds could gust up to 25 mph.

Ohio

Snow will begin in southeast Ohio after midnight on Tuesday. The southeast part of the state should expect about 6-10 inches of snow, though Cincinnati and cities east of Cincinnati will see much less. 6-10 inches of snow will fall in the eastern part of the state, including Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo. 8-12 inches is possible east of I-71. Winds could gust up to 45 mph, and a blizzard warning is in effect along a line from southeast to northeast Ohio until 7am EST on Thursday. Freezing rain and sleet is possible in far southeast Ohio, with ice accumulation to about a tenth of an inch. Snow will begin to taper off from west to east on Wednesday night.

Pennsylvania

Snow will begin in the northwest part of the state on Wednesday morning and early afternoon. In the northwest, 8-12 inches of snow is possible. Erie County along the Lake Erie coast is under a blizzard warning until 7am EST Thursday. Less snow will fall in eastern Pennsylvania, though snow will change to a wintry mix and freezing rain in the south and southeast parts of the state on Wednesday evening. Philadelphia and the surrounding area will remain in rain.

West Virginia

Freezing rain and sleet will be the biggest hazard in West Virginia. Freezing rain will begin on Wednesday morning and last until Wednesday night. Up to a quarter of an inch of ice is expected to accumulate, which will likely bring down branches and power lines, and make driving near impossible. It's recommended that driving be avoided altogether in areas under the freezing rain advisories and ice storm warnings. Winds will also be gusting to 45 mph.

Virginia

Ice and snow will extend into western Virginia beginning Wednesday morning. 2-5 inches of snow and sleet will accumulate, with the highest amounts falling in the ridges. One to two tenths of an inch of ice will also accumulate west of the Blue Ridge by early Thursday morning. Freezing rain will likely bring down branches and power lines, and driving will be extremely hazardous. Winds will gust up to 35 mph. Precipitation will remain mostly rain (though some wintry mix is possible) east of Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke.

Maryland

In western Maryland, 4-8 inches of snow will accumulate. The snow will likely be mixed with freezing rain and sleet late Wednesday morning into the afternoon. A tenth of an inch of ice could accumulate. Winds will gust up to 40 mph. Snow and ice will extend as far east as Washington D.C., which will see snow changing to wintry mix by Wednesday afternoon.

New York

Snow will begin in New York late Wednesday afternoon. Accumulations if 8-16 inches will be common. The heaviest snow will fall overnight on Wednesday. Snow will turn to wintry mix and freezing rain Wednesday night for the southeastern part of the state. Winds will gust up to 30 mph. New York City and the surrounding area will remain mostly rain, though a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain will be possible.

Connecticut

Snow, sleet, and possibly some freezing rain will begin in Connecticut on Wednesday evening. 4-8 inches of snow could fall away from the coast, and a trace of ice could also accumulate, making roads very slick. Winds could gust up to 45 mph.

Massachusetts

Snow, sleet, and possibly some freezing rain will begin in Massachusetts on Wednesday evening. 4-8 inches of snow could fall away from the coast, and a trace of ice could also accumulate, making roads very slick. Boston will remain mostly rain, though some wintry mix is possible, especially in the western suburbs. Winds could gust up to 45 mph.

Vermont

Snow will begin in Vermont on Wednesday evening and taper off by Friday morning. 8-14 inches of snow is expected in southern Vermont, while northern Vermont should expect 10-15 inches. Winds could gust up to 30 mph.

New Hampshire

Snow will begin in New Hampshire on Wednesday evening and last through Thursday night. Around a foot of snow will fall in New Hampshire, with higher amounts in the mountains and lower amounts in the valleys. Winds could gust up to 40 mph.

Maine

Snow will begin in Maine on Wednesday evening and last through Thursday night. Around a foot of snow will accumulate, with higher amounts in the mountains and lower amounts in the valleys. In northern Maine, 10-16 inches of snow is possible. Winds could gust up to 40 mph.

Stay up to date with Wundermap: Check your county's advisories.

Notable Tornadoes of Christmas Past

From the National Weather Service in Washington D.C.

--Dec. 24-25, 1964: 14 tornadoes (three of them F3), Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina,  South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia. Two deaths in Georgia; about 30 people injured.
 --Dec. 25, 1969: 12 tornadoes (two F3) in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana   One death in Louisiana, 17 injuries.
--Dec. 25-26, 1973: 7 tornadoes, two of them F2, in Alabama, Florida, Georgia. Two injuries.
--Dec. 24, 1975: 3 tornadoes (one F3) in Texas and Florida. No injuries or deaths.
--Dec. 24-25, 1977: 3 tornadoes (1 F3) in Mississippi and Florida. Seven injuries.
--Dec. 24-26, 1982: 29 tornadoes (one F4, two F3), in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi. Three deaths in Arkansas and Missouri; 32 injuries.
--Dec. 24, 1988; 1 tornado (F4) in Tennessee. One death; seven injuries.
--Dec. 24, 1997: 3 tornadoes (one F2) in Alabama. Five injured.
--Dec. 25, 2006: 6 tornadoes (four F2) in Georgia and Florida. 14 injured.
--Dec. 24, 2009: 22 tornadoes (three F2) in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Four injured.

Other statistics:
--Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida are the most likely states to have tornado events around this time of year.
--The last time a number of tornadoes impacted the Gulf Coast area around Christmas Day was in 2009, when 22 tornadoes occurred during the morning of December 24th.
--In over 60 years there have been two EF4-rated tornadoes on Christmas Eve, one in 1982 in Arkansas, the other in 1988 in Tennessee.
--The last killer tornado around Christmas was a Christmas Eve F4 in Tennessee in 1988, killing one person and injuring 7.

Angela

P.S. I'm here in Cleveland, Ohio for the holiday, so I promise to head out into the blizzard on Wednesday to make some observations.

White Out (docshovel39)
Less than a week after a severe dust storm hit this area , a pretty strong winter storm hit . From 'Brown Out' to 'White Out'.
White Out
Moose River 12/25/12 (edgelight)
CC Ski along the Moose River in Old Forge, NY
Moose River 12/25/12
Christmas Sunset (wildernessgirl)
After the storm
Christmas Sunset

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6. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
2:16 PM GMT on December 31, 2012
angelafritz has created a new entry.
5. jazzyVT
12:04 AM GMT on December 27, 2012
Getting ready for a massive snow fall here in northern Vermont. Skiing will be great this weekend. I can't wait to go snowshoeing!! God bless all stay safe and have a great holiday season :-)
Member Since: December 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
4. sdianas
11:55 PM GMT on December 26, 2012
A few years ago we had 18 (EIGHTEEN!!) inches of snow over Christmas Eve and Christmas day. That's a lot even for North Dakota. ;-) I uploaded a few pictures of it. It was amazing - I don't know if I'd ever seen that much snow in one storm before.
Member Since: December 12, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
3. Barefootontherocks
6:35 PM GMT on December 26, 2012
Kinda cold and icy here in central Oklahoma today. Many Okies are holed up at home but appreciative of whatever moisture this snow brought to drought-stricken areas of the Plains.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18403
2. Phatkhat
3:44 PM GMT on December 26, 2012
A pox on all those wishing for "A White Christmas". About 6-8" here in Sharp Co. AR, though with the high winds, it's hard to tell for sure. We won't be getting out of here today...
Member Since: May 23, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 26
1. bluefade
12:58 PM GMT on December 26, 2012
BEAUCOLIC
Member Since: May 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 0

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About angelafritz

Atmospheric Scientist here at Weather Underground, with serious nerd love for tropical cyclones and climate change. Twitter: @WunderAngela

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