Dual Weather Threat

by Dave Hennen
CNN Senior Meteorologist

CNN iReporter Mediaman showing melting ice over the weekend in Chaseburg, WI. It's a different story today with over a foot of snow expected.

A full taste of both winter and spring weather will impact the Plains today in the form of blizzard conditions to the north, and the possibility of tornadoes further south.

As February ends, cities along the northern tier of the US and southern Canada have typically received between 80-85% of their average snowfall for the season.  This years dry and mild winter has led to only about 30% of the average snowfall for several cities including:

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • 2011-2012 = 18.1″ of snowfall so far
  • Annual Average through Feb. = 50″
  • Duluth, MN
  • 2011-2012 = 26.8″ of snowfall so far
  • Annual Average  = 81″
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 2011-2012 = 15″ (38cm) of snowfall so far
  • Annual Average  = 45.6″ (116cm)

Today much of the region returns to a more frigid weather pattern, as one of the biggest storms of the season thus far spreads heavy snow and high winds from the Dakota’s into Upper Michigan.  Minneapolis could see storm totals approaching a foot.  That is nearly as much snow from this single storm as the Twin Cities have seen all season.  Blizzard warnings are in effect for the Dakota’s where heavy snow will be accompanied by 50 mph winds, which will make for nearly impossible travel conditions.

Further south the unusually mild weather continues.  This clash of the air masses between the cold to the north, and warm weather to the south will trigger severe t-storms and possible tornadoes.  Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Memphis are a few cities that could be in the path of these storms this afternoon and evening.

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