Late Season High Plains Blizzard

In many places that I’ve lived, people have saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait, it’ll change soon!” in reference to the inherent variability of weather.  In the United States, the northern and central High Plains — western parts the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and eastern Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado — embody this saying best.  With no nearby ocean to moderate conditions, and no east-west oriented mountains to block cold or warm air masses, temperatures can vary wildly on daily and hourly time scales.  For example, North Dakota has 6th coldest statewide record low (-60 F) — no surprise there, I’m sure — but it also has the 5th warmest statewide record high (+121 F).  Only CA, NV, AZ, and NM have been warmer.

Temperatures in northeastern Colorado have been very mild lately — highs today were in the upper 70s with an 80 degree reading in nearby Goodland, Kansas.  Much of Kansas was under a red flag warning for possible brush fires due to hot, dry, windy conditions.


However, the weather is about to change dramatically.  Blizzard conditions are forecast tomorrow for the northeastern corner of Colorado, with heavy snow likely for much of Nebraska and far northwestern Kansas.


The snow will be followed by cold: tomorrow night’s lows are forecast to be around 20 F (with windy conditions making it feel even colder).  Thus, northeastern Colorado and nearby NE/KS are going to experience a 60-degree temperature change in 36 hours.  More dramatically, in less than 24 hours the weather will change from hot and dry to blizzard conditions!  While the meteorologist in me would like to experience something like that someday, I’m glad that the weather in Indiana doesn’t change that much from day to day.

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