Second winter storm of 2022 delivers significant snow to region


KIMBALL – A typical early winter storm passed through the tri-state region last week, bringing heavy snow and brisk winds and sending temperatures plunging to below zero for the second time in five days.

At Kimball light snow began to fall as the sun began to set on January 4. Temperatures fell to below zero overnight and heavy snow began to accumulate shortly after sunrise on January 5. Between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. 9.5 inches accumulated, and by the time the snow storm abated on January 6, nearly 11 inches had fallen, containing just over an inch of liquid water.

Daytime air temperatures rebounded in the wake of the storm, but breezy conditions kept wind chill values below freezing.    

Regional forecast and conditions

As of Tuesday morning (January 11), the temperature at sunrise was 21 degrees under mostly clear skies. Winds were northerly at 8 mph and the barometer was slowly rising at 30.24 inches of mercury (in/Hg).

Today’s weather (Friday, January 14) is expected to be mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow and windy. The daytime high air temperature should reach about 40 degrees before falling off to an overnight low of 13 degrees. Skies are expected to be mostly clear and the night is forecast to be blustery. Day length will be 9 hours and 30 minutes, night length 13 hours and 30 minutes.

Saturday should be sunny and calm and slightly warmer with a high of 43 degrees. Saturday night should be clear and calm with a low temperature of 20 degrees.

Breezy conditions are forecast to return on Sunday when skies are predicted to be clear and the mercury could climb to about 43 degrees before falling off to an overnight low of 15 degrees.

Conditions Monday-Wednesday are expected to be sunny and mild with daytime highs approaching 50 degrees and overnight lows falling into the mid-teens. No precipitation is forecast through mid-week.

At Kimball, the December 28-January 3 daytime high averaged 33 degrees, about 6.15 degrees warmer than last week. The weekly high temperature was 46 degrees on January 4. Overnight lows averaged 7 degrees, about 1.57 degrees warmer than last week. The weekly low temperature was -5 degrees on January 6. The weekly mean temperature at Kimball was 20 degrees, about 0.29 degrees warmer than last week and 6.8 degrees cooler than the January average of 26.8 degrees. The long-term average high and low temperatures at Kimball for January 40.3 and 13.4, respectively.

Kimball received 0.25 inches of snow on January 4, 10.5 inches on January 5, and 0.10 inches on January 6. Liquid equivalent precipitation from this three-day snow event totaled 1.01 inches. 

Winds near Kimball averaged south southwesterly and occasionally breezy over the January 5-11 period. Gusts for the week averaged 29.28 mph. High gust for the week was 56 mph on January 4.

Here’s an overview of January 14 temperature and precipitation highs, lows, and averages over the preceding 128 years at Kimball. Data is taken from the High Plains Regional Climate Center (www.hprcc.unl.edu), where you can find and track data for your own particular location.

Last year (January 14, 2021): Daily high temperature 32 degrees, overnight low 22 degrees, average temperature 27.0 degrees. Precipitation 0.05 inches, snowfall 0.5 inches, snow depth 0.5 inches.

The warmest January 14 on record was 73 degrees in 1904. The coolest January 14 high temperature was -4 degrees in 1972. The coldest January 14 overnight low was -18 degrees in 1972. The warmest January 14 overnight low was 35 degrees in 1980. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on January 14 has averaged 40.4 degrees, the overnight low 13.2 degrees, the daily average 26.8 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.01 inches, snowfall 0.1 inches, snow depth zero inches.

The highest January 14 precipitation total was 0.60 inches (6 inches snow) liquid equivalent in 1905, while the highest snow depth was 10.0 inches in 1963.

USDA weekly weather and crop bulletin, January 11

Last week’s January 4 report was delayed 24 hours due to a winter storm in the Washington, D.C. area.

Cold air settled across much of the country in early January, although warmth lingered along the southern Atlantic Coast. Weekly temperatures broadly averaged at least 10 to 20 degrees below normal across the northern Plains and upper Midwest, while readings averaged at least 10 degrees above normal in portions of the southern Atlantic region. Meanwhile, back-to-back storms delivered snow in the mid-Atlantic; the second system also produced significant accumulations across the interior Southeast. Locally severe thunderstorms swept across the Deep South and lower Southeast, primarily on January 2-3 and 8-9. Farther west, however, unfavorably dry conditions persisted across the southern Plains, while dry weather returned to the Southwest. A band of generally light, mid-week snow affected the central Plains. Across the nation’s northern tier, periods of snow and bitterly cold conditions stressed livestock and occasionally hampered rural travel. Elsewhere, stormy weather prevailed in the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, leading to late-week flooding in the latter region.

A quick-hitting blast of cold air arrived across the Plains on January 5, accompanied by high winds. Temperatures briefly dropped below zero throughout the northwestern half of the Plains, while lows ranging from -20 to -40 affected northern tier communities from northern and eastern Montana into northern Wisconsin. On January 4, wind gusts were clocked to 72 mph in Rapid City, South Dakota, and 69 mph in Buffalo, Wyoming.

U.S. drought monitor

USDM reports derive normals/averages from the most recent 30-year period, though longer timescale data are used where available. The USDM generally reports on current drought conditions and offers a comprehensive history of drought across the Continental U.S. Near-term temperature and precipitation predictions derive from National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts.

Current drought status for the Nebraska Panhandle, Southwest Wyoming, and Northeast Colorado. Drought Categories: D0 – abnormally dry. D1 – moderate drought. D2 – severe drought. D3 – extreme drought. D4 – exceptional drought.

(January 4, 2022) Heavy precipitation continued to improve drought and dryness across the northern half of the West Coast States, though it created its own set of significant impacts. Farther south, similar totals fell on a relatively small area in southwest California. Heavy precipitation – some falling as heavy snow – also covered areas from the Ohio Valley and Middle Atlantic States southward through the Tennessee Valley, the interior Southeast, and the Carolinas. Parts of the Rockies – primarily the higher elevations – also reported moderate to heavy precipitation. Meanwhile, only light precipitation fell on the Northeast, across much of the lower Midwest, and along most of the Gulf Coast and adjacent areas. Most of the Plains and upper Mississippi Valley reported little or no precipitation.

High Plains: It was a dry week east of the Rockies, and even across Colorado and Wyoming, moderate to heavy precipitation was limited to the higher elevations. This was sufficient to prompt some improvement in western Colorado and a small section in northwestern Wyoming. The eastern portions of D0 and D1 areas in North Dakota were also improved based on a re-assessment of reduced impacts from earlier precipitation. Meanwhile, southern Kansas saw some deterioration near Oklahoma, where the last 60 days brought very little precipitation. But given it is the coldest and climatologically driest time of year there, deterioration was limited to a patch in the southernmost reaches of Kansas where the weather has been somewhat warmer. Central Wyoming also saw worsening conditions where little or no precipitation fell during the last 60 days. 

West: Heavy precipitation and a generous snowpack in mountainous areas led to more improvement here, based in part on monthly statistics for December. Improvement was brought into large swaths of the region, especially across central Montana, much of Idaho and Utah, western Nevada, and part of central and southern California. It was a wet week with 2 to locally 6 inches of precipitation reported from the Cascades westward to the Coast in the Pacific Northwest and adjacent parts of California, further reducing dryness and drought in areas where such conditions have already been removed. Some areas in California already received more precipitation in the last 3 months than they had in the prior 12 months.

Near-term forecast: Several areas extending from the Idaho Panhandle and adjacent areas southeastward into central Colorado will see moderate precipitation, especially in the Idaho Panhandle (1.5 to locally 3.5 inches) and higher elevations in Wyoming and Colorado.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 6–10-day outlook favors subnormal precipitation across most of the 48-states, with odds favoring above-normal precipitation limited to a swath from the southern Rockies to the Lower Mississippi Valley. Meanwhile, above-normal temperatures are favored near the Gulf Coast (especially Florida), the Plains, most of the Rockies, and the immediate West Coast.

Terminology: EDDI – Evaporative Demand Drought Index. This is an experimental model for drought prediction, using nationwide data from 1980-present. SPE – Standardized Precipitation index, correlating present month/year precipitation with 30-plus year historical data. SPEI – Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index. SWE – Snow Water Equivalent. 

For more information on the U.S. Drought Monitor, including an explanation of terminology, visit: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

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