Weather Underground midday recap for Thursday, December 20, 2012.
A strong winter storm moved from the Plains into the Midwest and Great Lakes on Thursday. This system created blizzard conditions across the Central Plains and Upper Midwest, and advanced eastward into the Great Lakes. A cold front extended south from this system, which was pushed eastward over the Eastern Valleys throughout the day. The leading edge of this system pulled warm air in from the south and allowed for rain showers to develop ahead and along this cold front. Rainfall totals surpassed 2 inches from the Ohio River Valley through the Gulf of Mexico. Belleville, Illinois reported 2.11 inches of rain, and Port Heiden, Arkansas saw 2.05 inches of rain. Scattered thunderstorms developed along the southern side of this front as it pulled additional moisture and energy in from the Gulf of Mexico. Strong and damaging winds were reported from eastern Louisiana through Mississippi. Wind gusts up to 69 mph were reported at Palmer, Alabama. Meanwhile to the north of this system, colder temperatures allowed for more heavy snow to develop north and northwest of the center of the low pressure system. Strong winds in these areas created blowing snow and poor visibility. Thus, blizzard warnings were issued from Iowa through Michigan. Snowfall totals in these areas have reached over a foot for parts of Iowa and Wisconsin.
Meanwhile out West, another low pressure system dropped south from the Gulf of Alaska and pushed a strong front into the Pacific Northwest. This kicked up heavy rain and mountain snow showers from far northern California through Washington. Snowfall accumulations ranged from 3 to 5 inches across western Oregon and Washington, with up to a foot anticipated at higher elevations of the Cascades. North Bend, Oregon reported rainfall totals up to 2.32 inches by mid-day on Thursday.
Temperatures in the Lower 48 states Thursday have ranged from a morning low of -29 degrees at Kremmling, Colo. to a midday high of 84 degrees at Plant City, Fla.