Joe Lundberg

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Behind the Blizzard of 2013, Winter Still Weighing In, With Hints of Spring, Too

February 11, 2013; 10:34 AM ET

Monday, 11:30 A.M.

The Blizzard of 2013 was one for the record book. Here's a quick visual of the final snow accumulations from a broad perspective:

If you were to take away the snow from the northern branch feature that cut across the Midwest and Great Lakes, and brought snow into upstate New York, the snow basically impacted parts of New Jersey, northeastern Pennsylvania, eastern New York state and New England -- six states as a whole, and parts of three others. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a big area. But what an impact it had!

In Portland, Maine, it was the biggest snow event ever. Boston's 24.9 inches of snow was their fifth-biggest snow total. And many locations picked up more than 30 inches from the storm from western Suffolk County up through Connecticut into parts of Massachusetts all the way to southwest Maine. Just an unbelievable storm!

Strong winds also accompanied this storm, blowing the snow into huge drifts and causing a lot of power outages, the greatest percentage of which occurred in southeastern Massachusetts into Rhode Island. My sense of why that was the case is that 1) the winds were stronger closer to the storm center in these areas, and 2) the initial snow fall was a much heavier, wetter snow fall with temperatures very close to freezing, allowing it to more easily cling to just about anything despite the wind. Then, with the strong winds getting even stronger over time, it was too much for trees and power lines to withstand, thus the greater percentage of outages in these areas.

Thankfully, the storm hit later on a Friday into Saturday. There was a lot of advance notification of the storm, so most government agencies took proper action and did their best to get as many people off the roads as possible before the storm really got down to business late Friday and Friday night. My dad and most of the town I grew up in picked up 20-24 inches of snow, and there were also a couple of thunderstorms that rumbled through early Friday night as that deformation band developed and rotated through southeastern Connecticut to the northwest and then set up camp for a time. I never had thunder in the Blizzard of '78! For most, this storm is now the best (worst) of all time, pushing 1978 off the stand.

Winter weather is far from absent this morning. Right on the heels of the blizzard, freezing rain is creating havoc in New England this morning. With all of that snow on the ground, and a clear sky with dry air last evening, temperatures dropped quickly last night, then the clouds moved in late at night to seal the cold air in across the region. As the precipitation moved in, there was little chance to warm above freezing.

Meanwhile, a new storm will be taking shape in the next 24 hours over the southern Plains. The upper-level feature that will spark this storm development has produced snow in parts of Colorado overnight and this morning, and by late tonight and tomorrow morning it will be pulling warm, moist air up and over cooler air in Texas to spark more rain and thunderstorms, just as we saw earlier this morning. That developing low will then track to the Virginia Capes early Wednesday night, putting some areas north of the track of the low at risk for accumulating snows.

The European model is the fastest and flattest with this wave of low pressure, keeping the snow largely south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and missing virtually all of New England. The NAM and GFS models have equally insistent of late of spreading the snow shield farther north, bringing accumulating snow through parts of Kentucky, southernmost Ohio and Virginia into central and southern Pennsylvania and all of southern New England. Time will tell if the model that was pretty much dead on with the blizzard, the European, maintains its hot hand, or if the NAM and GFS have the right idea. Regardless, there will be some snow with this feature before it clears the mid-Atlantic and New England coast Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Even as that feature is exiting the Northeast, a new one will be slipping into the Upper Midwest, with a little snow in the picture for parts of North Dakota and northern Minnesota late Wednesday and Wednesday night into Thursday, with some of that snow spreading into Michigan during the day Thursday. As that feature rolls farther downstream, there can be a little snow over upstate New York and the mountains of northern New England, but there will be little to nothing farther south.

However, a cold front attached to this weak storm will mean business, as temperatures will drop quite a bit behind it for Thursday in the northern Plains and Midwest. As the jet stream undergoes more and more buckling Friday into the weekend, it will pull more and more cold air into the trough and send it southward. It will cool down quite a bit Friday night and Saturday in the South and into the Southeast.

The latest GFS is developing another potent storm off the mid-Atlantic coast later Saturday and Saturday night. And yes, snow has got to be in the forecast across parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Yep, here we go again! One thing this storm may be lacking, though, is a big area of high pressure in front of it. That will probably limit the overall precipitation associated with the storm, but a storm there will be. Here's the Sunday afternoon forecast:

I did say there are hints of spring. Those would be in the form of severe thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast. They are farther south than some of the severe weather events of last week, but it is a sign of things to come. Even the smallest disturbance this morning ignited elevated thunderstorms around Houston that dropped pea-sized hail on parts of the city. More severe weather is likely tomorrow and tomorrow night from southeastern Texas eastward across the South, and it may show up in parts of the Southeast tomorrow night into Wednesday.

Even farther west, an upper-level ridge is building over the eastern Pacific up into British Columbia, one that will promote mild weather with a decent amount of sunshine in the Northwest. Not warm, mind you, but it isn't supposed to be warm in mid-February in these areas! If you want warm, head to Florida. There's a reason why many like to vacation there at this time of the year, or own a winter home in the Sunshine State. And there's a reason why they don't hold spring training in Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago and Seattle.

Speaking of which, another hint of spring today - "Pitchers and Catchers Report." While the weather is far from springlike in most of the country, that's a sure sign we're closer to it than we were last month!

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Joe Lundberg
Joe Lundberg, a veteran forecaster and meteorologist, covers both short and long-term U.S. weather on this blog.