Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lull between weather patterns

Wet slop impacted the Twin Cities early last week with snow across the northern suburbs into central and northern Minnesota.  Rain fell most of the Tuesday before switching over to snow by about 4:30 a.m Wednesday. With freezing rain pelting my bedroom windows overnight, I didn't get much sleep, so I listened for when it stopped which would signal the changeover to all snow. By 8 a.m. Wednesday, snow in Shakopee totaled 1.5 inches with the remainder of the metro seeing anywhere from one to eight inches of snow. The highest snow total I could find was east of Hinckley of 20 inches!  1.35 inches of total water accumulated. This was the most precipitation in the form of water that we’ve seen since August 16, 2011.


As February came to a close, it was the fourth warmest winter on record in the Twin Cities, and tied for the warmest in St. Cloud.  Most locations in the state were averaging at least five degrees above normal between December and February.


For February alone, the Twin Cities was 6.9 degrees and St. Cloud was 7.7 degrees above normal.


The late February storm helped bring precipitation totals in line for the winter across the southern half of Minnesota, however much of north central Minnesota saw 50 to 75 percent of normal precipitation for the season.


March came as a lion from Indiana to Mississippi as an outbreak of severe thunderstorms with violent tornadoes occurred on March 2nd.  The Storm Prediction Center issued a high risk of severe thunderstorms during the early morning of the 2nd.  Throughout the day, tornado watches and warnings littered the landscape from the Ohio River Valley to the Lower Mississippi River Valley.  Filtering duplicate reports, over 90 tornadoes touched down in at least eight different states.


Hail in excess of baseball size fell in Carroll County, Kentucky.


Here is video of a tornado as it moved through Henryville, Indiana, severely damaging the high school.

One of the most heartbreaking stories from this storm was a 14-month-old girl who was tossed by a tornado 150 yards from her parent’s home in New Pekin, Indiana died as a result of being taken off life support from the extent of injuries.  Her entire family – two parents and two siblings died in the storm.

This storm was also a reminder as to why I signed up to be a Skywarn spotter.  We need people on the ground helping out with the warning process, so the public can take action quickly.  You can find classes by clicking the banner below.  Over the weekend, I became re-certified with Metro Skywarn for another two year period.  The classes are painless as you’ll learn a lot about thunderstorm structure, and more importantly, help out your community in time of need during bad weather.


On moderate and high risk of severe weather days, any storms that pop in these conditions will usually become severe rapidly and produce large hail and have the capability of producing tornadoes.  It’s also particularly important to pay attention to weather media and I urge the public to take these warnings seriously.  It just might save your life!


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