National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A rapidly evolving winter storm impacted the Panhandles on December 2nd, 2020. Communities across the Panhandles saw forecast snowfall amounts increase significantly over a 48 hour period as a rare south/southeastward moving storm system trekked over the forecast area. Rare in the fact these upper level disturbances do not usually take a southward movement through the spine of the Rockies and produce much--if any--precipitation across the combined Panhandles. In fact, the progression of the upper disturbance usually cuts off moisture and we end up dry; however, this was not the case with this system. This storm system was able to pull in a decent amount of Gulf moisture which eventually wrapped around an area of low pressure and dumped heavy snowfall amounts in the far northeast section of the forecast area. Final snowfall amounts ranged anywhere from an inch in the south central Texas Panhandle to around 6 - 12 inches the eastern Oklahoma Panhandle and far northeast Texas Panhandle. In addition to the snowfall, north winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts exceeding 40 mph at times lead to reduced visibility due to blowing snow. There were periods where conditions got close to that of a blizzard in the northeast combined Panhandles, as visibility dropped to around 1/2 mile with blowing snow (persistent 1/4 mile needed for a true blizzard). Snowfall was still on the ground in the far northeast combined Panhandles three days after the event occurred. 


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