February 21, 4 PM: Rain, Storms, Isolated Severe, Howling Winds & Much Colder Weather

Active pattern continues with system after system.

Posted: Feb. 21, 2019 1:29 PM
Updated: Feb. 21, 2019 4:45 PM

These are the mean temperature anomalies for the Lower 48 since January 1 (courtesy of Oregon State University Prism Cimate Group).

Overall, the West has been warm (though not recently) & far northern New England & the far Southeast have been a bit milder than normal.

What is misleading is that the unusually cold weather in February does not show up well in the West because January was so warm there.  It has snowed a record number of times in February at Las Vegas (there was an accumuating snowfall yet again today) & it has been a long time that I have seen so many Frost Advisories & Freeze Warnings so deep into southern California.  It has happened with unusual frequency this month.  It has also been a long time that Seattle has had so much snow in February & part of Montana is enduring its coldest February in decades.

Much of the central & northern U.S. has averaged colder than normal since January 1.

Right now, the unusual cold is out west with Freezing Warnings deep into southern California!  It is warming in the East as brief spring burp arrives here Saturday evening.

With that spring burp note the severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center in the second image below.  I would not be surprise to see an upgrade to Moderate in northeastern Arkansas, western Tennessee to northern Mississippi due to the risk of a couple/few stronger, longer track tornadoes.  Parameters in latest data support it, but we shall see!

We have a Marginal Risk of severe (isolated severe) for our area along & south of a Peru to Logansport to Delphi to Williamsport line. 

I did cut rainfall some from 1-2.25" to 0.75-1.25" as the heaviest rainfall looks to fall south & southeast of our area.  It would not suprise me either if some of the rain in our viewing area begins as freezing rain in the far north & northeastern areas Friday night-early Saturday morning.  This would be brief, however.

Friday night-Saturday night:

Saturday morning-night Simulated Radar Reflectivity:

Howling winds will occur behind the line of storms & dry slot.

Gusts 42-55 mph are possible at times from the northwest Saturday overnight through Sunday before the winds gradually diminish Sunday evening-night.  Winds will be sustained at 25-35 mph.  The potential is there for a couple of isolated gusts to exceed 55 mph.

Wind Advisory is a definite with potential of part of the area ending up with a High Wind Warning (best chance of that would be Benton, Newton & Jasper counties).

Given wet soil conditions & duration of the winds, some trees will be pushed & toppled over.  Isolated power outages are possible.

Temperatures will tank Sunday night to 11-18 with wind chills -8 to 4 after some scattered rain/snow to some snow showers & flurries.

Snow to rain to snow showers looking pretty inconsequential Monday night-Wednesday at this time.  We will monitor.


I still think the first 16 days of March could be the coldest since 1984.  March 1-16, 1984 saw the third coldest mean temperature since 1960.

1960 is a record that will not even be approached. 

I floated that around that we could get colder than the 1970 23.5, making it the coldest first half since 1960.  Even if you are the coldest first half since 1960 at say 23.3, you would still be 10 degrees warmer than '60!  1960 is a legendary record that I do not think will be beaten anytime soon.  It is still the coldest first half of March on record & the coldest March on record (even with 70s late month) since 1879 at West Lafayette.  Only 1811, 1833 & 1872 are comparable when you go way, way back to the earliest records in the Midwest, Great Lakes & Ohio Valley.

I do not think we will break completely free from the cold pattern until March 20 & beyond.

There will be multiple opportunities for snow & ice March 1-19.  I still think there is elevated potential of the biggest snow or winter storm of the snow season occurring in March.  Whether it is snow or snow/ice or ice, pattern sure supports the incidence of a significant winter storm when you look at analog data back to 1950.

March 1-16 mean temperature..............coldest 1960-present at the Purdue Ag Farm:

1960 - 13.3

1970 - 23.5

1984 - 23.4

1978 - 24.1

1962 - 25.5

1980 - 26.4

1969 - 27.4

2014 - 28.6

1996 - 29.2

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Rain returns tomorrow.
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