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Wet and Unsettled in the Pacific Northwest; Wintry Mix from Rockies into the Plains.

Another strong Pacific storm will bring rain, heavy at times, from northern California to western Washington; and heavy snow to the Northwestern mountains. A separate system will impact the Rockies and into the Plains with a wintry mix. Dangerously cold wind chills will continue through Alaska, especially, across northern Alaska where wind chills could reach minus 70 degrees. 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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