An Impressive Plains Blizzard

While the Iowa caucuses and other news have dominated headlines this week, the winter storm that affected the Great Plains (and Iowa) had a major impact on residents of Nebraska and nearby states.  Businesses, universities, and schools closed, and road conditions were so hazardous that long stretches of Interstate highway were closed.

kayla-totals

(Graphic from The Weather Channel) As best as I can tell, places in light violet had more than 6″-9″ of snow, those in light purple had 9-12″, and the dark purple areas exceeded 12″.  Nebraska was hardest hit — the only places that didn’t get a lot of snow were sparsely populated.  Much of I-80 (runs along the southern part of the state) was closed.  South of there, I-70 was shut down from just east of Denver to central Kansas.  Both of these routes have extensive transcontinental traffic.  I-29 in extreme southeastern SD (which is flat as a board) and I-90 in Minnesota were also shut down for a while.

The storm also had a lot of wind.  Winds in eastern Nebraska gusted to 50 mph in many locations.  This caused blizzard conditions to occur along with extensive drifting.  (Photo credit: CNN).    Iowa had lots of wind, too, but less snow.  Portions of northern Kansas and northeastern Colorado also had rough conditions.  nebraskablizzard

So while I earlier referred to this as a “routine” Midwest/Plains blizzard, it was actually a bit stronger than routine.  For more stats on the storm, see the Weather Prediction Center’s storm summary.  This is the same storm system that caused a few tornadoes in the Deep South yesterday, too.

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