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    Jesse Ferrell

    Purple Snow: Cold, Lake Effect Take Over Northeast

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    1/22/2013, 10:47:16 AM

    Extreme cold and lake-effect snow have taken over the Northeast U.S. this week, and it's a beautiful thing to see on the weather maps. This shot was from 8 a.m.:


    590x212_01221845_earth122b

    Extremely cold temperatures are shown in the background as purple (wind chills are plotted as numbers) and the heavy snow is shown as blue and purple from the radar. Wind chills fell below zero here in Pennsylvania, and as low as the -40s in Minnesota.


    fbpromo

    Here in State College, we're only up to 10 degrees F at the local airport as of this writing (2 p.m.). To give you some perspective, as far as I can tell from the data, Penn State has only recorded two days with highs at or below 10 degrees since I've lived here Jan. 16, 2009, (8 F) and Feb. 7, 2007, (9 F).

    Today's MODIS satellite image shows the lake effect well:


    541x613_01221844_modis122c

    Speaking of satellites, the infrared scope this morning showed readings below 50 degrees below zero Celsius, but not just for high clouds -- it was reading the ground temperatures in Canada!


    590x443_01221842_sat122a


    I've talked at length about

    ocean-effect and other lake-effect snow before, but today there's even talk of cooling-pond-effect snow (not just any pond-effect snow), and it's been confirmed by the NWS in Illinois.* Lake Michigan was even steaming, with waterspouts sighted today.

    These photos by Joshua Nowicki show not snow, but ice, caused by freezing spray on Lake Michigan this week. And, by the way, we may have had some thundersnow last night in New Jersey. But at least you're not on Mount Washington, N.H., today, where the forecast reads "Temperatures falling into the -20s F. Wind Chills falling to the -70s."


    583x444_01221847_josh122a

    *I'm not yet convinced. I can see the snow trails on MODIS in Google Earth, but they don't match up with any large cooling ponds. However, it's possible they drifted south from this early morning satellite? The NWS transcript follows:

    "SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL 511 AM CST TUE JAN 22 2013 AT 5 AM CST...RADAR CONTINUES TO DEPICT TWO VERY SMALL AND NARROW BANDS OF LIGHT SNOW DEVELOPING AND MOVING SOUTHEAST ACROSS THE WILL AND KANKAKEE COUNTY BORDER AREAS...AS WELL AS ANOTHER AREA NEAR THE GRUNDY AND LIVINGSTON COUNTY BORDER. THESE BANDS OF LIGHT SNOW APPEAR TO BE LAKE EFFECT FROM COOLING PONDS IN THESE AREAS. LIGHT SNOW FROM THESE NARROW BANDS WILL LIKELY IMPACT AREAS FROM WILMINGTON SOUTHEAST TO BOURBONNAIS...AND VERONA SOUTHEAST TO REDDICK. VISIBILITY WILL LIKELY BE REDUCED TO 1 TO 3 MILES IN LIGHT SNOW IN THESE AREAS...WITH HIGHLY LOCALIZED ACCUMULATIONS OF AN INCH TO PERHAPS AS MUCH AS THREE INCHES POSSIBLE BEFORE SNOW ENDS THIS MORNING. TRAVELERS IN THESE LOCATIONS SHOULD USE CAUTION AS CONDITIONS WILL VARY GREATLY OVER VERY SHORT DISTANCES."
    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Jesse Ferrell