2013–14 North American winter storms

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During the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2013–14, North America became the spawning ground for several storms, many of which had significant impacts. In several states in the US, there were record temperatures, some of which were the result of southward movements of the polar vortex.

Storm events[edit]

October 4–5[edit]

The first winter storm of the season, a significant system, was forecast by the National Weather Service, which issued a Blizzard Warning on October 3 preceding the storm.[1] The storm occurred as an early season blizzard, and, according to the Weather Prediction Center, was an event of a magnitude unseen for the past decade.[2] Many locations in Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota received near or over 10 inches (25 cm) of snow. Some areas in South Dakota received nearly 4 feet (1.2 m) of snow, with Silver City receiving 47 inches (120 cm). In many locations, there were high winds of over 50 miles per hour (80 km/h), with some locations reporting winds of nearly hurricane force, being 74 miles per hour (119 km/h).[3]

December 2–5[edit]

On December 2, a Pacific storm system entered the Western United States, and it spread heavy rain and snow from the Pacific coast to the Rocky Mountains. As the storm continued to move east, high snow totals fell in its wake. Maximum reported snowfall totals in this area were found to have occurred in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, where 30 inches (76 cm) or greater were reported. High winds were widespread as well, with multiple locations in the mountainous regions of the western US reporting winds of greater than 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). As reported by the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center, the surface low reached its peak strength at approximately 6:00 UTC on December 3 while it was over western Wyoming, where a central pressure of 994 hectopascals (994 mbar; 29.4 inHg) was observed.[4]

December 21–23[edit]

The ice storm over the Central United States on December 21

On December 19, a strong cold front moved southward across much of the Great Plains. By daybreak on December 20, temperatures in many parts of Oklahoma had dropped into to mostly between 10 and 30 °F (−12 and −1 °C).[5] However, despite the freezing temperatures, the depth of the cold air was rather shallow, with a depth of generally no more than 1,500 feet (460 m). As a result of the shallow depth of the front, once the front reached parts of the higher terrain in northwestern Arkansas, the front stalled, leaving areas just ahead of the front significantly colder than areas behind it.[6] While temperatures in much of the Plains remained at or below freezing, an upper low was forming over the Southwestern United States. As the low pushed eastward and northeastward across parts of eastern New Mexico and West Texas,[7] it interacted with moisture over the Southern Plains; there was an unusually high amount of moisture across the area for December, and the low drew much of it over the cold air-mass near the surface.[6] With the moisture in place, light rain began to fall in some locations prior to sunset. The rain persisted and spread from southwest to northeast overnight, with moderate rain beginning to fall across much of Southwest, Central, and northeastern Oklahoma and Southeast Kansas.[7] By late morning on December 21, much of the rain had ended in Southwest and Central Oklahoma, where many areas had received over 0.25 inches (0.64 cm) of ice accumulation with some locations receiving over 0.50 inches (1.3 cm) or even, in localized areas, 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) of ice; isolated power outages occurred, and multiple trees and tree limbs were broken and/or pulled down by the weight of the ice.[5] Heavy icing continued along the Interstate 44 corridor and parts of Osage County in Oklahoma; in these areas, there were reports of 0.50–0.75 inches (1.3–1.9 cm) of ice, and in southeastern Oklahoma and extreme northwestern Arkansas, there were lesser reports of 0.25–0.50 inches (0.64–1.27 cm) of ice.[6] Additional ice totals occurred in Southeast Kansas, where there were isolated locations which received ice accumulations of as high as 0.75 inches (1.9 cm).[7]

January 27–30[edit]

February 12–14[edit]

A winter storm on February 13

March 25–29[edit]

Late on March 25, a winter storm emerged off the coast of the Southeastern United States and began to undergo explosive intensification, becoming a bomb cyclone by March 26. Powered by moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico, the storm quickly became an unusually powerful nor'easter four times the size of Hurricane Sandy, and reached a maximum low pressure of 954 mbar (28.2 inHg; 95.4 kPa).[8] The system produced powerful sustained winds up to 89 mph (143 km/h), and wind gusts up to 119 mph (192 km/h), with unofficial amounts reaching 129 mph (208 km/h). After making landfall on Nova Scotia, the system weakened to a 960 mbar (28 inHg; 96 kPa) nor'easter on March 27, before weakening further to a 975 mbar (28.8 inHg; 97.5 kPa) storm on March 28. On March 29, the system deteriorated into a weak winter storm over Greenland, where it would remain for the next few days while slowly dissipating.

Non-storm events[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jennifer Gesick (October 3, 2013). "Blizzard warning issued for Rapid City and Black Hills". Rapid City Journal. Rapid City Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Amanda Fanning (December 30, 2013). "Northern Plains and Northern Rockies Winter Storm 4-5 October, 2013". Weather Prediction Center. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Storm Summary Number 06 for Northern Rockies and Northern Plains Winter Storm". Weather Prediction Center. October 5, 2013. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  4. ^ M. Sean Ryan (March 5, 2014). "Rockies to Upper Midwest Winter Storm 2-5 December, 2013". Weather Prediction Center. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma (February 24, 2014). "The Winter Storm of December 20-22, 2013". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c National Weather Service in Tulsa, Oklahoma (December 23, 2013). "December 20-21, 2013 Ice Storm". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c National Weather Service in Wichita, Kansas (December 30, 2013). "The First Day of Winter Hodgepodge Across Kansas December 21-22, 2013". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/26/294923074/massive-noreaster-rakes-new-england

External links[edit]