2009 North American Christmas blizzard
|Category 5 "Extreme" (RSI: 19.62)|
Satellite image of the storm on Christmas Eve.
|Formed||December 22, 2009|
|Dissipated||December 28, 2009|
|Lowest pressure||985 millibars (985 hPa)|
|Maximum snowfall or ice accretion||40.0 inches (102 cm) (Lead, South Dakota)|
|Areas affected||Midwest, Great Plains, Parts of Ontario, Eastern Seaboard|
|Part of the 2009–10 North American winter|
The 2009 North American Christmas blizzard was a powerful winter storm and severe weather event that affected the Midwestern United States, Great Plains, Southeastern United States, the Eastern Seaboard, and parts of Ontario. The storm began to develop on December 22 before intensifying to produce extreme winds and precipitation by the morning of December 24. The storm's rapid development made it difficult for forecasters to predict. The blizzard was reported to have claimed at least 21 lives, and disrupted air travel during the Christmas travel season. In the Southeastern and Central United States, there were 27 reported tornadoes on December 23–24. The storm, a Category 5 "Extreme" one on the Regional Snowfall Index, was the first winter weather event to rank as such since the Blizzard of '96.
Snowfall varied across the United States. South Dakota likely received the most, with 30.8 inches (78 cm). In Minnesota, 26 inches (66 cm) was received near Pequaywan Lake on the state's North Shore. Parts of Texas recorded snowfall as high as 9 inches (23 cm) at Post. Snowfall in Nebraska caused six deaths. In Oklahoma, a state of emergency was declared after blizzard conditions killed 3 people and dropped 19 inches of snow. Iowa saw high snowfall as well.
The storm was so intense that it wrapped warm air around the north and west side of it and cold air and snow blew in from the south. Rochester, Minnesota, in the northern half of the storm, saw rain with temperatures in the mid 30s Fahrenheit while snow was falling just to the west in a 1,300-mile (2,100 km) band stretching from Canada south to at least Dallas, Texas, giving that region its first "White Christmas" since 1929. Interstate 29 was completely closed in North and South Dakota, and then in stretches into Missouri.
Heavy rain in parts of the Midwest prompted the National Weather Service to issue Flood Warnings for many areas. The maximum rainfall amount recorded was 6.89 inches (17.5 cm) in Little Rock, Arkansas. Freezing rain fell across Iowa and Illinois, affecting travel to and from O'Hare International Airport. The Chicago area saw as much as ten inches of snow following the freezing rain and sleet.
Several houses were destroyed near Lafayette, Louisiana, possibly by a tornado. Near Longview, Texas a EF-2 tornado left a path of destruction nearly one mile long. Another tornado near Lufkin, Texas produced EF-3 damage.
|List of reported tornadoes – Wednesday, December 22, 2009|
|EF0||S of Martin||Red River||2.76 miles (4.44 km)|
|EF0||S of Pleasant Hill||Sabine||1.2 miles (1.9 km)|
|EF0||N of Many||Sabine||2.6 miles (4.2 km)|
|EF1||W of Farmerville||Union||6 miles (9.7 km)|
|EF0||W of Pineland||Sabine||1.5 miles (2.4 km)|
|EF0||W of Fairmont||Sabine||0.5 miles (0.80 km)|
|EF0||Recklaw area||Rusk||0.1 miles (0.16 km)|
|EF2||Longview area||Harrison||7 miles (11 km)|
|EF3||Lufkin area||Angelina||4 miles (6.4 km)|
|EF0||Jacksonville area||Cherokee||2 miles (3.2 km)|
|EF0||NE of New Summerfield||Cherokee||3 miles (4.8 km)|
|EF1||SE of Atlanta area||Cass, Miller (AR)||4 miles (6.4 km)|
|EF1||S of Avinger||Cass||0.1 miles (0.16 km)|
|EF2||Timpson area||Shelby, Panola||10 miles (16 km)|
|EF1||Garrison area||Nacogdoches||0.5 miles (0.80 km)|
- Global storm activity of 2009
- December 2009 North American blizzard
- February 2009 Great Britain and Ireland snowfall
- East Asian snowstorms of 2009-2010
- East Asian snowstorms of late 2009
- December 2009 North American snowstorms
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