Tuesday, January 26, 2016

'Blizzard of 2016' Slams the East Coast

Meteorologists knew that an upcoming storm system taking aim on the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States had the potential to be big -- and it was. Initial projections had the heaviest snow falling to the northwest of Washington D.C. across northern Virginia and eastern Maryland. That area saw around 30 inches of snow with 40 inches falling in one West Virginia location. Further to the south, freezing rain created ice across southern North Carolina and South Carolina downing power lines and causing hazardous travel. The heavy snow hit the I-95 corridor (D.C., Baltimore, Philedelphia, and New York) late Friday and ended Saturday night. The strongest winds occurred Saturday with gusts up to 50 mph causing blizzard conditions. Due to the timing, traffic was not as heavy and most residents stayed in their homes as advised. 23 inches of snow fell in Washington D.C., but heavier snow fell in New York City where 28.6 inches were recorded in Central Park - a tenth of an inch shy of tying the record for the most snowfall! New York City banned travel within the city so emergency crews and snow plows could continue the work through the storm. Monday morning, conditions were still bad enough in D.C. that the federal government and public schools were closed along with the schools in Baltimore and Philedelphia. The U.S. House of Representatives cancelled all of their sessions this week, too. Public schools remained closed in the same cities Tuesday as residents continue to dig their way out of the Blizzard of 2016.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Arctic Air Prompts Wind Chill Advisories

Brutally cold conditions moved into the northern half of Illinois over the past weekend. In Paris, temperatures fell to -2 at the waterworks and to 1 above at the Edgar County Airport. At the airport, the wind chills dipped down to -17! Wind chill is measured in terms of how cold it feels on exposed skin. With the wind chill values below -15, the National Weather Service office in Lincoln issued a Wind Chill Advisory for Edgar and surrounding counties (as well as NWS Indianapolis). When the values are that low, frostbite can set in on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes. If the wind chills get below -25, the National Weather Service will issue a Wind Chill Warning which we have seen the past couple of years. Now, temperatures are warming up a bit (upper teens), but will continue to rise as the next storm system moves in. Snow will be accompanying this system as it pushes through the area, producing snow accumulation of one to three inches. More snow is expected south of this area, where a Winter Weather Advisory and a Winter Storm Warning will be in effect tonight and tomorrow morning. After this system rolls through, minor snow accumulations will be possible Thursday and next Monday, but both events are still a few days out and will need to be watched to see if the forecast shifts.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Old Man Winter Strikes Edgar County

The first cold blast of 2016 (and the winter of 2015-16) struck Edgar County over the second weekend of January. December, a month typically averaging highs in the mid 30s, saw daytime highs in the 40s along with a few highs in the 50s! El NiƱo, the warming of the waters in the Pacific Ocean, is  likely to blame. However, winter was bound to strike again -- and it did. Rain was falling most of Saturday (Jan. 9), but as a cold front approached and moved through, temperatures began to tumble. Almost an inch of rain was common until the rain changed to snow later that evening. Only trace amounts of snow accumulation was recorded across the county with higher totals across Indiana. Temperatures continued to tumble into Sunday morning, producing a low of 11° at the Edgar County Airport. Northwest winds gusting near 30 mph produced subzero wind chills Sunday morning as well. After an Alberta clipper system pushes through tonight, winds will once again usher in cold air. Waking up Wednesday morning, expect temperatures near 5 degrees with subzero wind chills.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2 Year Anniversary of 2014's First Winter Storm

Starting Sunday, January 5, 2014, a winter storm slammed the region dumping a foot of snow in most places. After the precipitation came to an end, gusty northerly winds picked up producing huge snow drifts across the Edgar County, most notably in the northern portions. As conditions worsened Sunday evening, the Edgar County Highway Department and the Edgar County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) closed all of the roads in the county. The roads would remain closed to non-emergency personnel through Tuesday morning. Snow plows fought a never ending battle with the drifting all week as township roads continued to drift shut. The winds also plummeted wind chills 30 to 40 degrees below zero Monday and even Tuesday morning. Temperatures during this time were ranged from 5 to 15 degrees below zero. Due to the frigid temperatures, snow drifts, and road conditions, Paris schools were closed for the week, adding an additional week to Christmas break. As an interesting turn of events, county schools were also closed January 7 and 8 of 2015. These closings were caused by none other than sub zero temperatures and wind chills 10 to 20 degrees below zero. January 7, 2016, brought above average temperatures to the region in the upper 40s along with a chance of rain. Tomorrow (January 8), temperatures near 50 are expected in Paris. What a difference a year (or two) can make!