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Wintry Mix in the Central Plains; Powerful Pacific Storm Approaching

A storm will track from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley through Friday with showers and thunderstorms. On the northern edge, snow, ice, and/or a wintry mix is possible from the central Plains to the central Great Lakes. A significant Pacific storm with high winds, and heavier rain and snow will arrive late Friday through the weekend with impacts spreading across much of the West. Read More >

Overview

Veterans Day 2018 will be remembered by some--not only as a day to remember all those great men and woman who served our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice--but also the day the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles experienced a significant early season snowfall event.  This was not just any snow event though...as some areas observed thundersnow!!!  This is something that doesn't occur that often in this region.

Amarillo already surpassed the total snowfall amount for all of the 2017-18 winter season, when only a trace was measured.  In fact, this snow event broke a 560 day streak of no measurable snow at the Amarillo International Airport, which is the official climate site for the city.  This was the second longest streak of this kind.  The longest streak was 669 days, ending January 30, 1951.  So, we have already surpassed the total snowfall amount for all of the 2017-2018 winter season in Amarillo when we only received a trace of snowfall (for the entire season).

Snow began during the evening of November 11th as a strong trough approached from the northwest.  This resulted in bands of snow that produced narrow corridors of heavy snowfall, which were only a county wide at times.  One such band across the southern Texas Panhandle had embedded thunderstorms, which led to graupel (snow pellets) and periods of heavy snowfall that greatly limited visibility.  The main band that produced the highest totals of 6-10 inches extended from Tucumcari, NM through Dumas, Morse and Darrouzette.

Due to accurate forecasts, the snowfall potential was messaged well in advance.  Crews around the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles were able to treat the roads well in advance, with a focus on the I-40 corridor that was forecast to be heavily impacted.  Impacts that were observed included moderate to heavy snowfall, visibility below a mile, and occasional whiteout conditions (<1/4 mile visibility).  Though such conditions were observed, blizzard criteria was not met due to sustained winds being below 35 MPH.  Regardless, travel conditions were not ideal with many schools reporting delays until 10 AM CST, and a few deciding to cancel classes outright due to safety concerns.

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Flying over Amarillo (Christy Fox)
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