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National Weather at 830pm January 8 2005


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Domineering Western Storm

8:33 P.M. ET 1/8/2005


M. Ressler, Sr. Meteorologist, The Weather Channel




The stormy onslaught continues in the West from a sprawling area of low pressure hovering along the West Coast. Moisture channeled into southern California is releasing heavy rain over the windward slopes from the Sierra Madre Mountains to the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, and heavy snow above 6500 to 7000 feet. Heavy rains triggered several mud and snow slides in the mountains of San Bernardino County, one of which trapped about 100 vehicles on Highway 18 near Big Bear Lake. Nearly 2 feet of snow have blanketed Frazier Park, near Tejon Pass. Flood watches continue through Monday for much of southern California's lower elevations. Elsewhere, some amazing snowfall totals have been logged in the Sierra. Chilkoot Meadow, in the southern Sierra, has picked up an estimated 4.5 feet of snow. Ski resorts reported anywhere from 2 to 4 feet of storm total snowfall. Once again, the normally less snowy east-slope of Reno & Carson City is keeping up with the snowy parade. Sparks, Nev. has already picked up a foot of new snow. Since the main low pressure system isn’t expected to swing through, hence bringing an end to this event, until late Monday or early Tuesday, storm totals in the higher Sierra may exceed 10 feet in a few locations! Significant snow to the tune of 1-to-3 feet will blanket the higher elevations of the Rockies through Tuesday, providing a delight for skiers.



Saturday added one last chapter to a rather snowy and icy week in New England and Upstate New York as a fast-moving frontal system left behind a stripe of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain. Snowfall from 3 to just over 5 inches was reported from Rochester to Albany, N.Y. to along the New Hampshire-Massachusetts line. Except for one big snow in Tidewater Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula, the Mid-Atlantic continues in a snow drought. Sunday will be a quiet, precipitation-free day. With the exception of some stubborn clouds near the Great Lakes, some sunshine should allow temperatures to warm into the 30s in Boston, and 40s from New York to Washington to close out the weekend. All in all, Sunday won’t be too bad for early January. Snow showers will brush along the Canadian border on Monday. Then a second disturbance will quickly streak a little mixed precipitation (mainly sleet and freezing rain) from northwest Pennsylvania and western New York on Tuesday into northern New York and New England on Wednesday. In conjunction with a strong cold front, steady rain will move across the entire region Thursday into Friday ending as snow as much colder air arrives late week.



As a frontal system gradually fizzles over the Southeast, the resurging warmth will take center stage across the South into midweek, thanks to balmy southerly winds ahead of the storm system clobbering the West Coast. Sunday’s highs will generally top out from 10 to 20 degrees above January averages. Namely, 60s will grace the Carolinas and Tennessee Valley westward to the Texas Panhandle. Delightful 70s will envelop much of the Gulf Coast, and a few 80s should hang tough over central and south Florida. To kick off the new work week, 70s will creep into the Commonwealth of Virginia. This rather sublime break from winter will be coming to a screeching halt by mid-late week. The aforementioned West Coast storm will sweep into the Plains states on Wednesday, possibly producing some strong thunderstorms in the southern Plains. This front should plow through the Southeast on Thursday, with more thunderstorms. A January reality-check, temperature-wise, will be ushered in behind this front. Much colder air carried on strong winds can be expected from late week into next weekend, sending the mercury back below seasonal averages. Highs may struggle to the freezing mark in Oklahoma and north Texas on Thursday. Forties may be all Houston and New Orleans can manage for highs next Saturday.



Relatively tranquil weather will settle into the Midwest for the remainder of the weekend. After a widespread snow and ice event through Thursday from the central Plains to the southern Great Lakes, a quick burst of 1 to 5 inches of snow blanketed metro Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis and St. Louis late Friday night and early Saturday morning. With these storms now in the past, a weak, moisture-deficient cold front will slice southward through the Upper Midwest and then stall out, providing a sharp contrast in high temperatures Sunday. Highs will reach the 50s along the Ohio River, but stay in the teens and 20s in the Dakotas. Despite this rather calm respite, the coming week looks active. A storm system hammering the West this weekend will pivot into the Plains by midweek, potentially bringing more snow to the Northern Plains and mix changing to rain to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Ahead of the front, rain looks to fall over the above-mentioned new snow pack, and also over the flood-weary Ohio Valley. Behind the front, a frigid arctic air mass will be drawn out of Canada. By late week, highs will struggle to get above zero in the Northern Plains. Lows will nosedive into the 20s and 30s below zero over much of the same region.

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