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03/01/07 NOW: NE/SD/IA/MN/WI/MI (Winter Precip)

  • Thread starter Mike Hollingshead
  • Start date

Mike Hollingshead

Quite the snowstorm getting underway now in eastern NE and western IA. I decided to not sleep last night so I'd not miss the thundersnow(knowing I'd not fall asleep before 1-2 a.m. regardless. I've seen only 4 flashes so far as the best has been down near Omaha. The one flash was quite bright and close. It's now simply a raging snowstorm outside. I wonder how long it will last here before lifting ne. The last few frames on Des Moines radar shows the pull back to the west around the low.

I really wish the nws would leave the radar alone and not do this crap where it ignores anything above 35dbz and paints it all dark green. What good does that do exactly?

12z ruc 6hr fcst

It would shock me if that verifies and things are that far west at noon.
 
I really wish the nws would leave the radar alone and not do this crap where it ignores anything above 35dbz and paints it all dark green. What good does that do exactly?


That just means that the NWS office switched the radar to VCP31/32, which is a much more sensitive mode and can pick up snow more easily. When you are looking at L2 data you still get data above 30DBZ, but L3 data caps it off. I assume that has something to do with the fact that negative DBZ values are put into the scale for L3 data in VCP 32. I know only so many levels of intensity are sent out when in that mode, and adding more levels at the bottom means taking them off the top.
 
Heaviest report of snow thus far has came in from Carrol, IA where 6.5 inches have already fell and visibility was only 150 feet.

Roads are being close throughout the state, I29 is completely closed. I35 from Ames, IA northward is being closed currently and I80 is closed from the NE/IA border to Exit 100. Ames has had off and on rain/sleet mix as the low is nearly directly south now... Lowest pressure is 980.4 in Chariton, IA as far as METAR reports go.

EDIT: Also want to note that Iowa State Univ. is closing at 1 PM today due to deteriorating conditions.
 
What a storm! This has been a fun day. It seems like forever since this area has had a real good snowstorm(they mentioned since 1998 since Omaha was in a blizzard warning). They added my County and Omaha to the blizzard warning. I guess they figured they ought to after I-80 from Omaha through Lincoln was closed. It's really rather cool here as the first stuff was extremely wet, so the trees are all completely coated. Even the wind has not really been able to remove it. Meanwhile the later stuff on top wasn't so wet and is blowing around like crazy now. I just intercepted a completely massive snowdevil in the back yard here at my folk's(where I'm now stuck, even borrowing their front wheel drive van). I was walking back down the hill from the "blizzard chase" when a big gust removed most of the thicker snow from some tall trees. This all whipped up into a 50 foot + tall intense whirl of snow. That was more fun than all of Feb 23-25 chasing.

It seems to be winding down here now...at least as far as what is falling and not blowing(or should very soon unless that can magically hang in here for a while longer). I'm not sure of a total. Most of the walk was to the middle of my shin deep. A lot of it was knee deep. There are already some very cool formations to the drifting.

Couple quick reports from the LSR:
12 inches at Benington(Omaha basicallY)
10 inches at Fremont(just west of Omaha)
11 inches at Valley NWS(near Omaha as well)
(cod is being slow so that's all I'm grabbing)

Back out to play.
 
Sioux City, IA continues blizzard warning with 1" hour snow rates and 5.1" of new snow on the ground with snow and blowing snow continuing and visibilities at or near zero. As Jayson said, Interstate 29 is closed in this area and roads are snowcovered and dangerous.

Radar shows no end in sight to the continued snowfall as it wraps around the intense low.
 
We have significant accumulations on the ground and are now starting to detoriate towards Blizzard conditions. This is the first time in the last three years that we have been under a Blizzard Warning. The models slowed down/shifted west and now the forecasts are for significantly more snowfall then previously indicated (which before only showed 2-4 inches over a 36hr period). Now that is 10-12" with already so much snow on the ground the road out of my home is currently unpassable. Right now we are at 11kts and there is a fairly nice band of snowfall moving west. The winds are expected to increase to 20kt-SUS/25kt-GUST by 21z and expect sometime in the next three hours that the increase in winds and arriving wrap around band will be a load of fun to chase.
 
Well the low has deepened to 980 just southeast of Des Moines as of noon. Still deepening. It looks like it will in fact dip below 975mb by tonight in northeast Iowa.

We've just barely (and I mean barely) tapped into the warm sector here in Erie, with temps approaching 50 and clouds breaking. Winds are very light out of the southeast.

Although the heaviest snows will stay just west, we're expecting some decent wraparound snows of a few inches here. That combined with winds gusting to 60mph will make things quite interesting.

Those snowbands out in western IA/eastern NE have been insane. I see Omaha is gusting over 50mph with heavy snow falling. Man that's some tough stuff there.
 
Sounds like I-29 has also gone offline from the Missouri state line north into Iowa. MoDOT is telling people not to attempt to travel north on I-29.

This entire storm system is just really impressive. Radar continues to look amazing, with some fairly intense convection moving straight into heavy snowbands. Northeast Iowa must be seeing some thundersnow.

Last night reminded me of that scene from one of the Star Trek movies on the Genesis planet (I know I'm a geek) ... you could go from supercells to blizzard practically in walking distance.
 
Latest pressure minimum is coming out of Knoxville, IA where the altimeter is reading 28.91 or about 978.9 mb. Wrap around precipiation isn't quite as expected especially just to the north of the low; although the northwestern quadrant of the low may be making up for that with very heavy snowfall rates. Either way it seems as if some of the offices are backing off slightly on snowfall totals for those not affected by the current strong band of precipiation. Winds are 30-35 in western Iowa, with gusts approaching 40 mph.

Still had only sleet/rain so far for Ames, although totals this morning of liquid precipiation are nearing 3 tenths. Expect snow to begin shortly, likely by 1 pm with a quick deteriation of conditions.

EDIT: Snowfall begins in Ames at 12:40 PM (Continuous updates on my blog)
 
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The heaviest snow right now looks like it's in the far northeast corner of Iowa. Lightning strikes are showing up here as well. Due to the bright reflectivities in that area, sleet is probably mixing in as well. On the northwest edge of the bright band is where I'd expect the heaviest snow.

51/49 here in Erie right now, with the boundary only about 20 miles to my southwest. It shows up quite well on satellite as a thin line of towering cumulus.

Hard to believe snow is less than 5-6hrs away...
 
Went outside of Lincoln to see how bad things were in the areas outside of the city itself. Numerous roads are there are still pretty bad and essentially every major highway between York, NE and Des Moines, IA are shutdown. Officially here in Lincoln depending on where you look (especially with the wind) I'd say we have around 7 and a half inches with the airport saying 6.6. Talked to family in Omaha and they measured a foot in our yard. We drove out to I-80 and as soon as we got south of the larger buildings and trees in the city the visibilities dropped dramatically. A couple of areas where it was blowing pretty good across the roadway you could barely see the hood of the car. Pretty Incredible!
 
The heaviest snow right now looks like it's in the far northeast corner of Iowa. Lightning strikes are showing up here as well. Due to the bright reflectivities in that area, sleet is probably mixing in as well. On the northwest edge of the bright band is where I'd expect the heaviest snow.

51/49 here in Erie right now, with the boundary only about 20 miles to my southwest. It shows up quite well on satellite as a thin line of towering cumulus.

Hard to believe snow is less than 5-6hrs away...

Up here in Waterloo, IA, we have had nothing but rain all morning. It had quit for about 1.5hrs between 1300 and 1430CST. It has now started to rain again at 34 degrees. So far, I'm a little disappointed with the way this storm is progressing. No interstate shutdowns in this area as of yet, however at 0900 this morning, Iowa State Patrol was thinking about shutting down I380 from Iowa City to Waterloo, however Cedar Rapids to Waterloo is still open. Hopefully this keeps sliding NE slowly but surely and brings in a little more cold, and we can get some snow. We haven't even had any thunder as of yet today.

EDIT: 1519CST: I JUST looked outside and it is now starting to spurt flurries in the midst of the rain.
 
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Well the deep moisture is being cut off now as the storm rapidly occludes. There are still two main bands of heavy snow ongoing. The main band stretches from near Minneapolis down into central IA, just west of Des Moines. Another band is nearly stationary from southwest MN into western IA. This band looks like it will slowly continue to weaken.

Very interesting to see a little round blob of precip right where the low center exists. The surface low looks to be just south of Waterloo right now, with a pressure of 978mb.

As the low continues to occlude look for the precip to begin wrapping all the way around the surface low. The main band over south-central MN may hold stationary for quite awhile, so they look to really get dumped on in the next 3-6hrs.
 
Well, its a little late and maybe it was already mentioned but numerous road closures all over IA including my area with I-35 closed from Ames to Albert Lea. Blizzard conditions have persisted ever since early afternoon and the snow has really piled up as well. Not sure how much snow we have as we are dealing with 40 mph gusts as well. Probably in the range of 7-9 inches so far with more coming down. This pales in comparison to the 12-14" reports to my west though.
 
What a strong system! Does anyone have any pressure readings along the path of this cyclone? Here in Appleton, WI we are still about 100 miles from the center and my 10:00 reading is 983.2 mb MSLP and still falling quite rapidly. My station updates pressure every 15 minutes, so this should be interesting. The center should pass very near here. This is already the lowest pressure I have ever recorded, and I believe, that I have ever been in. I have a headache from it, too.
 
Our surface pressure bottomed out at 983mb about 5pm this afternoon here locally. The lowest pressure that I saw on the surface map was 977 near Waterloo earlier, but I'm sure it dipped a bit lower than that at some point.

Here locally, we never really got into the very high winds that were expected. We've had some gusts a bit above 40mph, but not anywhere close to the 60mph gusts that looked possible earlier. I think Mike H was right in that the lack of a decent high pressure nearby lowered the winds from what they might have been. Nevertheless, a very windy night. We've now picked up nearly 1" of snow. Which is interesting considering 9hrs ago we were in the lower 50s.
 
Des Moines Airport reporting a wind gust near 60 degrees according to ch13 and all 99 counties are under a disaster declaration. When is the last time this has happened?
 
To answer the question about the lowest pressure seen, there were several reports of 978 across Iowa. The lowest I saw while watching it today was in Vinton, IA where the pressure dropped to 977.5 at a reading taken 4:24 PM.
 
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