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Impressive Storm System Finally Exits U.S.

By: Christopher C. Burt, 9:53 PM GMT on December 23, 2013

Impressive Storm System Finally Exits U.S.

The large and complex winter storm system designated ‘Gemini” by The Weather Channel has loosened its grip over the U.S. following three days of wild weather. Most impressive were the rain totals and warmth that proceeded the storms frontal passage across the central and eastern portions of the country. Here is a brief summary of some of the highlights.

Rainfall

A plume of moisture ahead of the storm’s cold front reached near record values so far as precipitable content is concerned.



On December 21st a weather balloon launched from the southwest Ohio town of Wilmington showed that the moisture in the atmosphere had reached a December record maximum (since 1951). NOAA.

This was manifested by some extraordinary rainfall totals. Flooding killed five in Kentucky where Paducah experienced its greatest December calendar day rainfall on record (see chart below). Here were the top figures by state:

10.24” INDIANA: Willimas 1.9 N

9.57” ILLINOIS: Belknap 11.1 ESE

7.92” ARKANSAS: Carlisle 3.3 W

7.60” ALABAMA: Excel 2.5 ESE

6.56” TENNESSEE: Dyersburg 4.5 W

6.25” NORTH CAROLINA: Lake Towaway 3.2 ENE

5.76” SOUTH CAROLINA: Greenwood 5 W

5.61” GEORGIA: McDonough and Woolsey

5.54” MISSOURI: Dexter 2.3 W

5.37” KENTUCKY: Paducah

5.12” OHIO: Castine

4.73” NEW YORK: Tonawanda 2.6 ESE

3.39” MISSISSIPPI: 3.39” Pass Christian 5 N

3.25” VIRGINIA: Meadows of Dan 4.5 SW

2.99” PENNSYLVANIA: North East 1.2 WNW

2.92” LOUSISIANA: Shreveport

2.67” VERMONT: Derby Center 1.8 NW

Freezing Rain

The most affected region was southern Ontario and Quebec, Canada where ice accumulations up to 2” were reported. Toronto was especially hard hit with as many as 250,000 homes/businesses without power at one point on Sunday and an additional 225,000 in other parts of southeastern Canada.



Ice accumulations in the Toronto, Ontario area crippled the city’s infrastructure over the weekend. Photo by Daniel Chris Ascano.

Five fatalities in Canada have so far been attributed to the storm. In the U.S. 475,000 customers lost power in Michigan, upstate New York, and northern Vermont. Icy weather In Oklahoma resulted in three traffic fatalities. The deepest ice accumulations reported were 1.25” in Canton, Potsdam, and Rensselaer Falls, New York; 1.00” in Jeffersonville, Vermont; 1.00” in Cherryfield and Wesley, Maine; and 0.75” in various locations of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Michigan.

Snowfall

Snowfall from the storm was not particularly impressive with the exception of areas around Lake Superior in Wisconsin that experienced lake effect enhanced accumulations. Most impressive of these is the 31.5” at Ashland, Wisconsin since Sunday morning. State snowfall maximums (including Great Lake snow belt areas) have been the following:

31.5” WISCONSIN: Ashland (outside the lake-effect areas the maximum was 9.3” at Milwaukee WSO.

15.5” KANSAS Larned

15.0” MINNESTOA: Poplar

12.9” MICHIGAN Gaylord

11.5” TEXAS Dumas

10.0” MAINE Knowles Corner

8.5” IOWA: Osceola

8.0” ILLINOIS Rockford

7.0” MISSOURI: St. Joseph

6.3” NEBRASKA: Auburn 5 ESE

4.0” OKLAHOAM: Eva

Tornadoes

There were two fatalities reported as a result of five confirmed tornado events in Arkansas and Mississippi on December 21st. One fatality was associated with an EF-2 twister near Hughes, Arkansas and another fatality near Rena Lara, Mississippi, also an EF-2. In addition at least four injuries occurred at the locations.

Record Warmth

Along with the rainfall, the most impressive feature of the storm system was the amazing warm temperatures that preceded the frontal passage on December 21-22. From Florida to New York daily and, in some cases, monthly heat records were broken. There are too many to list all, so here is a selection:

DECEMBER MONTHLY RECORDS

Norfolk, Virginia: 81° on 12/22 (old record 80° on 3 occasions)

Augusta, Georgia: 83° on 12/21 (old 82° on 8 occasions)

Savannah, Georgia: 83° on 12/22 (ties 5 other occasions)

Jacksonville, Florida: 84° on 1/22 (ties 9 other occasions—including twice before this month)

SOME OF THE DAILY RECORDS SET ON DECEMBER 21 or 22

63° Binghamton, NY

70 ° Harrisburg, PA (set at 6 a.m.)

82° Tampa, FL

73° Knoxville, TN (set at 4 a.m.)

72° Chattanooga, TN

73° Bristol, TN

64° Canton, OH (set at midnight )

72° Pittsburgh, PA

70° New York City, Central Park,

71° Newark, NJ

64° Hartford, CT

63° Worcester, MA

72° Washington, DC

64° Providence, RI

86° Orlando, FL

71° Atlanta, GA

78° Raleigh, NC

68° Philadelphia, PA

76° Richmond, VA

71° Atlantic City, NJ

67° Wilmington, DE

One aspect that was interesting was how cold air was trapped in the valleys of New York as warm air just aloft caused temperatures to vary buy as much as 35° over an elevation of just 500-1000’.



The wunderground.com map of temperature observations in the Albany, New York area at about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday December 22nd. Weather Underground.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

According to the BBC, this storm that you are talking about has raced across the Atlantic on a 280mph jet stream.

The centre of circulation is currently sitting off the NW Scottish coast. Where I live near London, we just had an 88.8 kph wind gust and local pressure is around 975mb. Probably won't get much sleep tonight.
Quoting 1. Engxladso:
According to the BBC, this storm that you are talking about has raced across the Atlantic on a 280mph jet stream.

The centre of circulation is currently sitting off the NW Scottish coast. Where I live near London, we just had an 88.8 kph wind gust and local pressure is around 975mb. Probably won't get much sleep tonight.


I'm following it. I'll post a blog on Christmas Day or Dec. 26th about this historic storm.
Three hundred miles north of London and we got down to 960 last night. In two generations I don't think my barograph's gone that low. A relative in Devon reports 972. And at this point the low centre would still have been west of Ireland. But interesting the most violent winds have passed us by - some by only fifty miles but we're in amongst hills and they sheltered us. Twenty miles west four inches of rain swelled the rivers and a dog walker died trying to rescue his pet - not the only one in this storm. In both cases the dog survived.
Those east coast high temperatures were impressive. I was near JAX when it occurred. Do you suppose the extreme temps we saw there were related to the same Arctic Oscillation band that caused Deadhorse, AK to hit the record highs above 40 deg F earlier this month?
Temperature

The month of December is characterized by very rapidly falling daily high temperatures, with daily highs decreasing from 5°F to -11°F over the course of the month, exceeding 20°F or dropping below -27°F only one day in ten.






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Tomorrow, Thursday Dec 26
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Mostly cloudy to overcast

Light snow midmorning to early evening (40%, 0.2")
-25°F -30°F

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