National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Hazardous Traveling Conditions for the Midwest; Strong Pacific Storm Approaching

A storm will track across portions of the Midwest and into the western Great Lakes through Friday as a combination of a wintry mixture and rain will result in hazardous traveling conditions. A strong Pacific system will be approaching with high winds, and heavier rain and snow late Friday into the weekend with impacts spreading across much of the West. Across Hawaii, strong winds and high surf. Read More >

March 9-10, 2013

Thunderstorms, Snow and
Strong Winds Noted Across the Area


To the right is a National Weather Service Radar loop, valid from 7:20 p.m. on Saturday, March 9th to 7:35 a.m. on Sunday, March 10th.

The NWS Hastings coverage area is located
 within the orange outlined area labeled "GID"


(Click Image to Enlarge)


Burr Oak, Kansas. Smith Center, Kansas. Grand Island, Nebraska. Beloit, Kansas.
Burr Oak, KS (photo by Leah Garman) Smith Center, KS (photo by Bob Levine) Grand Island, NE (photo by Jeff Bullin)  Beloit, KS (photo by Gary Thomas)

Storm Summary:

A complex weather situation took shape across the Central Plains between Saturday, March 9, 2013, and Sunday the 10th. Initially on the afternoon of March 9th, a narrow line of strong thunderstorms developed along a passing cold front, some containing small hail, which affected many areas near and east of Highway 281. Nickel size hail was reported six miles north of Esbon, KS. In addition to small hail, some of these storms contained locally heavy rainfall, with the 1.17" of precipitation recorded at Hastings Municipal Airport setting a daily record for March 9th (precipitation records for Hastings, NE date back to 1895). 

In the wake of the very strong cold front, narrow bands of moderate to heavy snow then developed across portions of the NWS Hastings coverage area, mainly during the very early morning hours of March 10th, with some areas seeing snow last well into the daytime hours Sunday. Due to the very fickle nature of these narrow bands, snowfall totals varied considerably across the local area (see the visible satellite image below). By Sunday evening, the highest snowfall totals were noted mainly east of a line from Aurora to Hastings, NE to Smith Center, KS, where a fairly widespread band of 3" to 7" of snowfall accumulated, with locally higher amounts embedded. 

Where appreciable snow fell, Saturday night and Sunday, the visibility was one-half mile or less for most of the daylight hours Sunday. In fact, the visibility was frequently much lower. This storm was officially classified a blizzard, at Hastings and York, where visibility sensors are available. However, blizzard conditions occurred, for virtually all areas, where snowfall accumulated. There are three specific criteria for a storm to be classified a blizzard (and they have nothing to do with how much snow fell):

  • Winds sustained, or frequently gusting, 35 mph or higher
  • Visibility one-quarter mile or less, in falling and/or blowing snow
  • Both of the above criteria must occur for a minimum of 3 non-consecutive hours

The official snowfall for Hastings on March 10th was 5.3 inches, which set a new calendar day snowfall record. The previous record was 5.0 inches set in 1907.  In Grand Island, the daily snowfall record for March 10th was tied at 3.5 inches. This record was previously set in 1962.

The snow, heavy at times, was accompanied by intense north winds of 25 to 35 mph, gusting to over 50 mph at times.  Hastings, NE reported the highest wind gust at 54 mph across the local area, with a list of some of the more notable wind gusts displayed in the table below.


Peak Wind Speed March 10, 2013


Wind Gust (mph)

Hastings Airport




Grand Island












Phillipsburg, KS


Beloit, KS


Smith Center, KS


The table below reflects final snowfall totals of 5" or more, across the area, from NWS Cooperative Observers, County Officials, NeRAIN/CoCoRaHS observers. The NWS Hastings thanks everyone who provided observation for this event.


Location Storm Total Snowfall Reports
Clay Center, NE (3 miles W) 10.0"
Shickley, NE 10.0"

Webber, KS


Burr Oak, KS


Superior, NE


Fairfield, NE

Lawerence, NE 7.0"
Ionia, KS 7.0"
Ruskin, NE 7.0"
 Mankato, KS 7.0"
Shelby, NE 6.5"
Benedict, NE 6.0"
Smith Center, KS 6.0"
Natoma, KS 6.0"
Aurora, NE 6.0"
Hubbell, NE 6.0"
Lebanon, KS 5.6"
Red Cloud, NE 5.5"
Hastings NWS 5.3"
Beloit, KS


Take a look at the visible satellite image from midday Monday. The white arrows indicate the dramatic west edge of the snow cover.