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Fire Weather in the West; Strong to Severe Storms in Southern Mid-Atlantic; Tropics off Florida and Southeast

Critical fire weather conditions will continue across the Inter-mountain West through the upcoming weekend, as Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches are in effect. Meanwhile, strong to severe storms w/ damaging winds and heavy rain likely in North Carolina and southern Virginia. Finally, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring a broad area of low pressure in the Bahamas for development. Read More >

Overview (Work in Progress)

On March 13th, 2019 an extremely powerful low pressure system developed over southern Colorado, likely setting a record for the lowest pressure recorded over Colorado, bringing widespread rainfall over the plains, creating a blizzard over El Paso County, and dropping feet of snow over the mountains. According to local news sources, around 1,500 motorists were stranded over northern El Paso County. According to CDOT, I-25 north of Woodmen Road closed at 11:23AM MDT due to "adverse weather conditions" and reopened during the later afternoon hours on March 14th. The lowest recorded pressure was 970.4 hPa over Lamar, Colorado, which is the "unofficial, preliminary" state record for lowest pressure ever recorded outside of a tornado. KPUB (Pueblo, Colorado) recorded a 974.2 hPa surface pressure at 9:00 AM MDT, which is a record for the lowest pressure over Pueblo. So what are the impacts of an "unofficial, preliminary" state record for the lowest pressure recorded? Let's break it up by location:

KMNH (Monument, Colorado):
Rain transitioned to snow over KMNH at 8:54 AM MDT, the blizzard conditions (sustained winds or frequent wind gusts greater than 35 mph and visibility less than 1/4 mile) began at 9:06 AM MDT and lasted through 8:23 PM MDT, which is over 11 hours of blizzard conditions observed. Blowing snow continued through 6:24 AM MDT on March 14th, but visibility was greater than 1/4 mile during that time period. 

KCOS (City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport):
Rain transitioned to snow over KCOS at 8:54 AM MDT, the blizzard conditions began at 10:52 AM and lasted through 5:57 PM MDT, which is 7 hours of blizzard conditions over KCOS. Blowing snow continued over KCOS until 12:45 AM MDT on March 14th, but the visibility readings did not qualify for blizzard conditions. KCOS also broke the record for the highest wind gust recorded with a magnitude of 84 kts (96 mph) at 1:12 PM MDT. Stronger winds were likely to the east of KCOS, but there are no observation stations located in eastern El Paso County. KCOS also experienced 2.0" of snow according to the observer on station, but there were likely higher amounts that fell over KCOS.

KPUB (Pueblo Memorial Airport):
KPUB mainly saw rain and gusty winds during this event, but at 11:44 AM to 1:24 PM MDT light snow was recorded. There were no accumulations, therefore the snowfall impact was a non-issue. The highest wind gust recorded at KPUB was 67 kts (78 MPH) at 2:54 PM MDT. 

KLHX (La Junta Municipal Airport):
KLHX saw brief periods of light rain during the afternoon, but the main impacts were the winds gusts. At 3:53 PM MDT a wind gust of 77 kts (88.6 mph) was recorded.

KLAA (Lamar Municipal Airport):
KLAA saw brief periods of light rain and light snow during the afternoon, but the main impacts were the wind gusts. At 3:24 PM MDT, a wind gust of 68 kts (78.3 mph) was recorded. The "unofficial, preliminary" state record for lowest pressure was 970.4 hPa recorded at 11:16 AM MDT.

KSPD (Springfield Municipal Airport):
KSPD remained dry during the afternoon, but the main impacts were the winds gusts. At 3:56 PM MDT a wind gust of 60 kts (69 mph) was recorded

KTAD (Perry Stokes Airport in Trinidad, Colorado):
KTAD experienced a brief period of heavy snow that lasted less than an hour, which brought brief blizzard like conditions over KTAD. There was a gust of 51 kts (58.7 mph) recorded at 4:54 PM MDT.
 

So how does this happen? Click on the "Environment" tab to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Water Vapor Imagery of the "bombogenesis" event on 3/13/19






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IR Imagery of the "Bombogenesis" Event

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