It's crazy spring weather at its finest in the Midwest U.S., where a powerful April storm system is bringing heavy snow, large hail, strong winds, freezing rain, heavy rain, and a remarkable temperature contrast on either side of its cold front. Abilene, Texas reached 93° Tuesday between 4 - 5 pm, and by 12:30 a.m Wednesday, it was snowing and 37°. Texas had an extreme temperature range state-wide on Tuesday of at least 86°: from 108° in Laredo, to 22° in Dalhart. A damaging hail storm moved though the west side of Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday night, bringing hail up to 2" inches in diameter with damage to cars, skylights, roofs and windshields, according to the Omaha World-Herald
. The Grand Island, NE airport had hail up to nickel size while the temperature was 27°F, and one location nearby had 1" sized hail with a surface temperature of just 18°F. It is very rare to see large hail with surface temperatures this cold; the unusual weather was made possible by elevated thunderstorms along a front aloft, above a shallow surface-based cold layer. Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a post, Incredible Temperature Gradient in Southern/Central Plains
, discussing the remarkable contrast between the weather on either side of the cold front. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center
is predicting a "Slight" chance of severe weather today through Friday along the storm's cold front, as it sweeps eastwards towards the East Coast.
A remarkable 20" of snow piled up in Rapid City, SD
on Tuesday--the city's snowiest day of all-time. The previous one-day record was 18", set on April 22, 2001. The snow continues to fall in the city, with a storm-total accumulation of 25" as of 8 am CDT. The storm has knocked out power to thousands in the Sioux Fall, SD area, and I-90 is closed between Rapid City and Mitchell this morning. However, the Rapid City area is under the highest level of drought, exceptional,
so the record snow storm is not entirely unwelcome. Widespread areas of one to two inches of precipitation have fallen over some of the hardest-hit drought areas of South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Nebraska this week, making the week one of the biggest for Midwest drought reduction experienced in the past year.
I'll have a new post late this morning on the latest hurricane season forecasts.