Weather across the nation: 12/8/12

6:02 PM, Dec 8, 2012   |    comments
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Active weather persisted across most of the nation on Saturday with snow in the Rockies and Plains, thunderstorms in the South, and areas of freezing rain in the Northeast.

In the East, a trough of low pressure over eastern Canada allowed for a cold front to stretch down the Eastern Valleys. Colder temperatures in the North allowed for rain showers to turn to freezing rain showers and high elevation snow showers, east of the Great Lakes.

At the same time, rain showers developed along the rest of this front as it stretched from the Ohio River Valley, over the Tennessee Valley, and into the Gulf states. As the southern side of this front pulled additional moisture and energy in from the Gulf of Mexico, scattered thunderstorms developed just ahead of the front. Temperatures in the Southeast from eastern Texas through the Mid-Atlantic states ranged from 5 to 15 degrees above seasonable on Saturday.

Behind this activity, another trough of low pressure and an associated cold front moved eastward over the Northern Rockies and into the Northern Plains. This created a broad area of snow showers, which developed from the Intermountain West, through the Dakotas, into Minnesota, while a combination of snow, freezing rain, and rain moved into Nebraska and Kansas.

Winter weather advisories have been issued for most of the Northern states. Heaviest snowfall was reported up to 10 inches at highest elevations of Montana by midday on Saturday. Most areas of the Dakotas saw snowfall accumulations from 3 to 5 inches by midday on Saturday. Strong winds accompanied this system and created blizzard conditions across the Dakotas. Winds ranged from 20 to 30 mph, with gusts over 40 mph. Thus, blizzard warnings were in effect for both North and South Dakota.

In the West, more rain and mountain snow persisted for the Pacific Northwest as another front approached the region. This allowed for moisture to continue pouring in from the Pacific Ocean, which kicked up more showers.

SATURDAY'S WEATHER EXTREMES:

HIGHEST TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F).........................85 Edinburg, Texas

HIGHEST HEAT INDEX (DEGREES F)..........................88 Corpus Christi, Texas

LOWEST TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)..........................-2 Crane Lake, Minn.

LOWEST WIND CHILL (DEGREES F)...........................-52 Gulkana, Alaska

HIGHEST WIND GUST (MPH).................................71 St. George, Alaska

HIGHEST PRECIPITATION (INCHES)..........................1.47 Atlantic City, N.J.

ON THIS DATE....... Airplanes are struck by lightning all the time. But on this date in 1963, Pan American Flight 214 crashes near Elkton, Md., after being struck by lightning. Apparently, the strike exploded one of the wing tanks on the Boeing 707. All 81 people on board died.

The Associated Press

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