Bitter cold in upper Midwest, while California braces for high temperatures
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A developing system in the central U.S. brought light snow Saturday to parts of the upper Midwest, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan.
Snowfall totals have been generally light from Minnesota to southern Michigan, with 1 inch to 3 inches in general falling in the aforementioned areas. But across northern Michigan, enhanced lake effect snow dumped around 4 inches to 5 inches of snow. And near Watertown, New York, lake effect snow dumped nearly 10 inches of new snow.
Fast forward to Sunday morning, and more light snow is falling across the Ohio River Valley and into the western Appalachian mountains. Winter weather advisories have been posted for much of the hillier areas from Northern Georgia to New York. During the day on Saturday, new snow will fall from Kentucky to Maine. Locally, 1 inch to 4 inches of snow will fall, with possibly slightly higher totals in New York state and in the Appalachians in Central Pennsylvania.
Some of the precipitation is falling as a mixture in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, extreme western South Carolina, North Carolina and southwest Virginia. The risk for icy conditions will continue from northern Georgia through western Maryland through Sunday morning. Locally, over a tenth of an inch of ice is expected in that region through Sunday morning.
By Sunday night, when most of America is watching the Super Bowl, heavy rain will be falling across the I-95 corridor from Washington to Boston. If there are celebrations in the streets after the game, Philadelphia might dry out just in time for the end of the game, while Boston likely will still have heavy rain occurring.
Parts of the upper Midwest, including Minneapolis and Fargo, are under a wind chill advisory Sunday morning due to wind chills as low as minus 20 degrees to minus 30 degrees. Frost bite could set in as soon as 30 minutes in these conditions. The wind chill advisory will expire and end at noon on Sunday, as temperatures will “moderate” during the afternoon and evening in Minneapolis.
For anyone traveling to the Super Bowl on Sunday morning, if you’re outside, it will be quite uncomfortable and dangerous. On Sunday afternoon and evening, wind chills will be stuck in the negative single digits for Minneapolis, and at game time, the wind chill will be near minus 10 degrees. Luckily, since the game is being played indoors, the kickoff forecast is between 65 degrees and 70 degrees.
Since the game is being played inside, this is not the coldest Super Bowl on record. The coldest high temperature for a Super Bowl on record for a non-dome game was in New Orleans in 1972. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins, with a high temperature of 43 and a low of 24. The coldest domed Super Bowl is currently from 1982 in Pontiac, Michigan. The high temperature was 16 degrees and the low was 5 degrees. Sunday will likely be the new coldest domed Super Bowl on record.
Another disturbance will move toward the Midwest on Monday. On Monday night, a quick burst of snow should arrive near Chicago and Indianapolis, just in time for the evening commute. This disturbance will fizzle out by the time it reaches the Appalachians. Accumulations will be light.
On Tuesday, another disturbance will form in the south-central U.S. that should bring some more rain to the Southeast. There is increasing concern that some ice and snow could develop on the northern side of this system and hamper travel Tuesday night from Oklahoma and Kansas to the Tennessee/Kentucky Valley.
Over on the West Coast, there is a chance for records to be broken Saturday across parts of California. High temperatures from New Mexico to Washington will be nearly 10 degrees to 20 degrees above average in some spots.
The current drought monitor is showing a significant part of the southern U.S. in some form of a drought. Of most concern is parts of Arizona, northern Texas and western Oklahoma, where extreme drought has developed. Parts of southern California are back into the severe-drought category.
While the Southeast has been starting to get a few good shots of beneficial rain, there is currently no rain in the forecast for the entire southwest U.S. through the next 7 days. The February climate outlook is showing likely drier-than-average conditions for this region of the country. Unless a significant pattern change were to take place in the next one to two months, as we head toward the end of winter and beginning of spring, it seems drought will continue to be a developing story across the southwest U.S.
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