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Western Storm Spreads East

A western storm will slowly spread accumulating snow into the Intermountain West and Rockies, while heavy snow persists across the southern Sierra-Nevada mountains. Locally heavy rain will be possible from parts of southeastern Arizona into western new Mexico. A strong Bering Sea storm will bring an accumulating wintry mix, coastal flooding and ice shoves to western Alaska. Read More >

Overview:

Between the afternoon hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, and the morning of Saturday the 12th, a somewhat-stronger-than-first-expected low pressure system passed through the Central Plains, bringing widespread snow totals of 4-8" to primarily the southeastern one-third of the NWS Hastings coverage area (see map and list of totals below).  

Like many local snow events, but perhaps more so than usual, this one featured a very sharp divide between those places that received appreciable snowfall, and those that saw hardly anything. Roughly speaking, the true dividing line set up roughly along a line from York-Hastings-Beaver City. To the north of that line, most places saw hardly anything (including Grand Island and Kearney), while Hastings received only a light dusting. However, to the south of that line, snowfall totals quickly ramped up over just a 10-20 mile distance, with most places south of roughly a Geneva-Red Cloud-Phillipsburg KS line receiving at least 4-7", and isolated amounts to around 8". Fortunately, north winds were not overly-strong, with peak gusts only in the 25-30 MPH range, which along with the wet/heavy nature of the snow, kept heavy drifting to a relative minimum.

This was an interesting event from an NWS forecasting perspective, as unlike many heavier snow events that are "obvious" a week or more in advance, this one showed little sign of being an issue until about three days out. And then, once it finally became more obvious that measurable snow would occur, it first appeared that the highest snow totals would only reach the 2-5" range, and not the more widespread coverage of 5-8" that ultimately occurred. So why did this system come a bit "out of nowhere" and end up being stronger-than-expected? In short, what initially looked like two fairly weak, disorganized upper level disturbances ended up "phasing" into one noticeably stronger system as time went by.

NWS Radar loop from 5:45 AM on Jan. 11th - 2 PM on Jan. 12th.
The NWS Hastings coverage area is within the orange
outlined area labeled "GID" . Interstates are in red.
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