Snow Exits Great Lakes, Returns to Mountain West

As the calendar turns from November to December, snowstorms appear to be the theme.  One is currently leaving the US and heading up through eastern Canada while another drops south out of western Canada through the Rockies and high plains.

The departing storm brought a rare November snow event to parts of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.  It was the first November snowfall in over 15 years for parts of the affected area.  During the day on Tuesday, the snow moved northward through northeastern Indiana and central Michigan.  Snowfall totals in excess of 6 inches were common with some spots hitting double digits.

Snowfall totals from 11-29-11 storm courtesy of Grand Rapids, MI National Weather Service office.

The snow was heavy and wet, leading to power outages (link contains photo gallery) and damage to trees and other objects.  The Grand Rapids NWS office obtained this photo of a gas station awning collapsed under the weight of the snow.

As this storm moves off into eastern Canada, another powerful system is moving into the western region of the country.  Winter Storm Watches/Warnings and Weather Advisories are up for much of the Rockies and high plains.

You may also notice the high wind warnings up for southern California and Nevada.  The infamous Santa Ana winds are expected to kick into high gear with the presence of this storm.  It would not be surprising to see wind gusts near hurricane force (75 mph) in some locations.  The persistent high winds will likely lead to power outages, blowing dust, and downed trees.  Strap on your seatbelts if you live in this area.

As for the Rockies and high plains, they can expect another 3-6+ inches of snow in the lower elevations with higher totals in the mountains.  In addition, they can expect at significant blast of arctic air with this storm.  Temperatures south of the cold front in Denver are currently in the mid-50s and may rise to near 60 today.  Tomorrow, temperatures will not rise above freezing behind the cold front and could fall into the single digits overnight Thursday into Friday morning.  It appears meteorological Winter (Dec-Jan-Feb) will announce its’ arrival in Denver tomorrow.

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