Blizzard Warnings Across Midwest; ‘Historic’ Snowfall Expected
Blizzard warnings have been issued to states across the Midwest as a massive winter blizzard continues to blow east. The blizzard warnings extend from Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle to Illinois, Indiana and parts of Ohio. Snowfall was as heavy as two to three inches per hour in the Texas panhandle early Monday, causing whiteout conditions that made driving impossible across much of the state. The Texas Department of Transportation was forced to sideline snowplows during the heaviest parts of the storm. Complicating cleanup efforts and travel conditions are massive wind gusts of nearly hurricane-like strength.
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"Amarillo Airport just recorded a gust of 65knots/75mph! This is truly a historic blizzard!" the Texas DOT posted on Facebook. "Conditions have NOT improved. Please stay inside and do NOT venture out."
As of noon, Central time, 17 inches of snow had fallen in Amarillo, Texas, the weather service said in a Twitter post.
The massive storm system that's causing the blizzard warnings in the Midwest and parts of the Northeast is also responsible for tornado warnings that are cropping up across some southern states. The Storm Prediction Center has placed parts of eastern Texas, southern Arkansas, southern Mississippi, all of Louisiana, and northern Florida under a tornado watch until 8 p.m., EST.
The blizzard warnings serve as indicators for a severe storm that will have a range of effects on the nation's breadbasket. On the positive side of things, some experts are predicting that this massive blizzard provide some relief for drought-stricken areas of the country.
"Is it a drought buster? Absolutely not," Victor Murphy with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas, told the Associated Press. "Will it bring short-term improvement? Yes."
However, the blizzard may also spell disaster for cattle ranchers in the Texas-Oklahoma region. One rancher told the Associated Press that grazing cattle, and calves born in the last few days, are at risk for suffocation as the wind and snow forces the cattle into smaller, fenced-in areas.
"This type of snow is a cattle killer," rancher Jay O'Brien told the AP.
Here is the official blizzard warning from the National Weather Service:
STORM SUMMARY NUMBER 02 FOR CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS WINTER
STORM AND GULF COAST HEAVY RAINFALL
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
900 AM CST MON FEB 25 2013
... ANOTHER HEAVY SNOW EVENT IS EXPECTED ACROSS NORTHERN PORTIONS
OF THE SOUTHERN PLAINS INTO THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY TODAY
WITH HEAVY RAINFALL ALONG THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN GULF COAST...
BLIZZARD WARNINGS...WINTER STORM WARNINGS...AND WINTER WEATHER
ADVISORIES ARE IN EFFECT FROM EASTERN NEW MEXICO...ACROSS TEXAS
PANHANDLE...THE NORTHERN HALF OF OKLAHOMA...AND THE MAJORITY OF
KANSAS. WINTER STORM WARNINGS AND WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES
CONTINUE TO EXTEND NORTHEASTWARD ACROSS PARTS OF THE MIDWEST INTO
THE LOWER GREAT LAKES.
FLASH FLOOD WATCHES ARE IN EFFECT FOR SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA...THE
SOUTHERN HALF OF MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA...THE FLORIDA
PANHANDLE...AS WELL AS MUCH OF GEORGIA.
FOR A DETAILED GRAPHICAL DEPICTION OF THE LATEST
WATCHES...WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES...PLEASE SEE WWW.WEATHER.GOV
AT 800 AM CST...A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WITH A CENTRAL PRESSURE OF
999 MB...29.50 INCHES...WAS MOVING NORTHEASTWARD ACROSS
NORTH-CENTRAL TEXAS TOWARDS SOUTHERN OKLAHOMA. NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATED THAT
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WERE EXPERIENCED IN THE TEXAS PANHANDLE DURING
THE PAST FEW HOURS WHERE WIND GUSTS OF UP TO 60 MPH WERE RECORDED.
ELSEWHERE...LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW WAS SPREADING INTO CENTRAL AND
SOUTHERN KANSAS WHILE LOCALLY HEAVY SNOW HAD BEEN REPORTED IN
WESTERN OKLAHOMA. FARTHER EAST...RAIN WAS CHANGING TO SNOW IN
CENTRAL OKLAHOMA. MODERATE TO HEAVY RAIN WITH EMBEDDED
THUNDERSTORMS WERE REPORTED ACROSS EASTERN OKLAHOMA NEAR A
STATIONARY FRONT. ELSEWHERE...A LARGE AREA OF MODERATE TO HEAVY
RAIN WITH EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS HAD MOVED INTO SOUTHERN
ALABAMA...THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE AND INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S.
AHEAD OF A WARM FRONT WHICH EXTENDED ALONG THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF
THE GULF COAST.
...SELECTED STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL IN INCHES FROM 400 PM CST SUN FEB
24 THROUGH 800 AM CST MON FEB 25...
PINECLIFFE 4 SSE 27.2
GOLDEN 12 NW 23.9
ELDORADO SPRINGS 4 WSW 18.0
CONIFER 3 N 17.0
ARAPAHOE PARK 5 SSW 14.3
IDLEDALE 2 NW 12.7
ASPEN SPRINGS NNW 10.6
WHEAT RIDGE 1 W 10.1
DENVER INTL AIRPORT 9.0
MONUMENT 6 E 8.5
DENVER 3 SSW 7.5
GREENSBURG 9 E 4.5
ASHLAND 17 NW 4.0
COLDWATER 13 SE 3.5
SAN JOSE 6.0
CLINES CORNERS 7 SE 4.0
SANTA FE 6 SSE 3.0
SANDIA PARK 4 E 2.5
TESUQUE 1 W 2.4
LITTLE WALNUT VIL 2 SSW 2.0
TULIA 2 W 10.3
AMARILLO 1 WNW 8.0
WHITE DEER 4.0
...SELECTED STORM TOTAL RAINFALL IN INCHES FROM 400 PM CST SUN FEB
24 THROUGH 800 AM CST MON FEB 25...
MOBILE/BATES FIELD 2.18
PENSACOLA RGNL ARPT 2.76
MARIANNA MUNI ARPT 2.29
APALACHICOLA MUNI ARPT 1.83
NEW ORLEANS/LAKEFRONT 2.58
...SELECTED PEAK WIND GUSTS IN MILES PER HOUR EARLIER IN THE
SAN AUGUSTIN PASS N 71
RATON CREWS AIRPORT 64
DUNKEN 2 NE 59
TULAROSA 20 WNW 59
BOSQUE DEL APACHE REFUGE 22 SE 54
CLAYTON 2 ENE 54
FORT STANTON 2 SSE 54
OSCURO 7 W 51
ROSWELL 4 SSE 51
SANTA TERESA 5 SW 51
LAS VEGAS 6 NE 49
MILNESAND 4 E 48
DORA 2 SW 46
EL PASO 2 N 84
FORT BLISS 1 S 62
THE SURFACE LOW IN CENTRAL TEXAS IS EXPECTED TO DEEPEN TODAY AND
MOVE NORTHEASTWARD INTO THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY BY THIS
EVENING...REACHING THE OHIO VALLEY BY TUESDAY...AND INTO NEW
ENGLAND BY THURSDAY. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF OVER A FOOT ARE
FORECAST FROM THE TEXAS PANHANDLE AND WESTERN OKLAHOMA...ACROSS
SOUTHEASTERN KANSAS AND INTO CENTRAL MISSOURI. THE GREAT LAKES
REGION CAN EXPECT 6 TO 9 INCHES OF SNOW FROM WEDNESDAY INTO
THURSDAY...WHILE THE OHIO VALLEY SHOULD RECEIVE UP TO 3 INCHES.
BY THURSDAY...MOST OF THE SNOW WILL MOVE INTO NEW ENGLAND WHERE UP
TO 10 INCHES OF SNOW IS EXPECTED. ICE ACCUMULATIONS UP TO
TWO-TENTHS OF AN INCH ARE EXPECTED ACROSS CENTRAL
MISSOURI...CENTRAL ILLINOIS...AND CENTRAL INDIANA... WITH ALMOST
HALF AN INCH EXPECTED ACROSS SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF THE APPALACHIANS
ON TUESDAY. ON WEDNESDAY...SOME SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATIONS ARE
EXPECTED ACROSS THE CENTRAL APPALACHIANS...THE LOWER GREAT
LAKES...AND THE SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF THE UPPER GREAT LAKES.
ADDITIONALLY...RAINFALL AMOUNTS IN EXCESS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES WITH
LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST IS EXPECTED OVER THE
NEXT FEW DAYS WHICH COULD RESULT IN FLASH FLOODING.
THE NEXT STORM SUMMARY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL
PREDICTION CENTER AT 300 PM CST. PLEASE REFER TO YOUR LOCAL
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS
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