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Weather across the nation: 3/9/13

5:20 PM, Mar 9, 2013   |    comments
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A strong winter storm brought messy weather to the center of the nation on Saturday.

A low pressure system moved northeastward and off the Central Rockies, into the Plains by midday on Saturday. Flow around this system brought warm and moist air northward from the Gulf of Mexico, which allowed for showers and thunderstorms to develop from the across the Central and Southern Rockies.

At the same time, cooler air along the northern side of the system created heavy snowfall from the Central Rockies through the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. A few scattered showers lingered over Arizona and New Mexico, but heavy precipitation ended for the region. Snowfall totals for Friday and Saturday reached over a foot in some areas of northern Arizona, with the heaviest storm total reported at 26 inches in Forest Lakes, Ariz.

Snowfall totals for Colorado and Utah ranged from 6 to 10 inches by midday on Saturday. Only 3 to 5 inches of snow has been reported in parts of western Nebraska and Kansas, but strong winds allowed for blizzard conditions to spread from northeastern Colorado through eastern Nebraska. This created dangerous roads and travel conditions.

A band of freezing rain developed along the leading edge of this storm from the Central Plains through the Upper Midwest, where cooler temperatures allowed for rain showers to turn to freezing rain and snow showers. Ice accumulations ranged from a tenth to a quarter of an inch, which also created dangerous travel conditions.

Shower and thunderstorm activity to the south created periods of heavy rainfall with midday totals just over 1 inch. There was a chance of severe weather development for Oklahoma and Texas, but severe thunderstorms have not yet developed.

SATURDAY'S WEATHER EXTREMES:

HIGHEST TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F).........................90 Zapata, Texas

HIGHEST HEAT INDEX (DEGREES F)..........................91 Laredo, Texas

LOWEST TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)..........................1 Saranac Lake, N.Y.

LOWEST WIND CHILL (DEGREES F)...........................-25 Wainwright, Alaska

HIGHEST WIND GUST (MPH).................................67 Thermopolis, Wyo.

HIGHEST PRECIPITATION (INCHES)..........................1.29 Woodward, Okla.

ON THIS DATE....... A destructive cold wave gripped Alabama and Georgia on this date in 1996. Temperatures as low as single digits wiped out fruit crops that had already bloomed. As the temperature drops to 20 degrees, some developing fruit can have a 50% loss rate.

The Associated Press

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