Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Hey everybody! I am now a second semester senior, so I’m sure you know what that means. It means, of course, that I will be writing a lot more weather forecasts because I now have some additional time to do so! I want to thank everybody who has been reading this blog even though I haven’t been updating it lately, it really means a lot to me. You guys inspire me and let me know that people truly appreciate this blog, and you encourage me to share my knowledge with the rest of the world. I commend you for that.
For those who haven’t been reading this blog, that’s ok too! Now that I am updating it more, you can check back and be assured that there will be a new post. Perhaps I can even revitalize your interest in weather if reading my blog helped you develop one but it faded away as my blog posts started becoming less and less frequent.
Anyways, the focus of this blog post is to focus on the gigantic storm that is effecting the nation’s heartland. Our weather is currently pretty boring right now (unless you are fascinated by fog and partly cloudy skies) and I expect it to remain fairly mundane for some time, although I’ll keep you updated if things change. This storm in the Midwest, however, is shattering records left and right. My aunt lives in Kansas City, and she said she had already gotten 16 inches of snow, with 6 to 8 more hours of snow expected.
Let’s look at some satellite imagery. The most amazing thing about this storm is how much it has developed in such a short time. This intense storm development is called “explosive cyclogenesis,” or, as many scientists around here call it, “bombing.” At Tuesday 12 A.M. PST, the storm was just some moisture down south being fed by a strong jet stream. It is the swath over Oklahoma, northern Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and parts of the adjacent states to them.
Six hours later at 6 A.M. PST, you can see a swirl developing as well as an intense squall line marking the storm’s cold front.
At 12 P.M., the storm has gotten even bigger and shifted eastward. A bent-back occlusion is now very apparent, the trademark characteristic of a rapidly-developing cyclone. Although it is more complex in reality, the northeast parts of the storm are generally seeing snow and the southwest parts are seeing rain. In other places, it could go either way depending on the situation.
At 6 P.M., the storm has gotten even larger. Explosive cyclogenesis is no longer occurring, but the storm is still very strong and is dropping very heavy precipitation, particularly further east.
By the time I am writing this, at 11:46, the event is mostly confined to the Eastern Seaboard, although it is still snowing in the bent-back occlusion of the storm, which stretches over the upper Midwest.
Wow! Pretty intense huh? Aside from being huge amounts of snow where it is cold enough, extremely cold air has started to filter in behind the front and the low pressure center is bringing windy conditions to many areas. This storm even brought thundersnow (a thunderstorm with snow) to some places. I have heard of at least one report of it from Chicago. Thundersnow is a rare phenomenon as thunderstorms are most common when there is a lot of heat energy in the atmosphere.
It is amazing how much this storm has progressed and how much it has moved in the past 24 hours. It started out with some sections in New Mexico and now some parts of it are way out over the Atlantic! Truly phenomenal.
I’ll discuss the local weather later, there really isn’t that much going on right now. The rest of the country, as you can see, is a different story.
Have a good one,