By Nick Wiltgen,By Jon Erdman, Weather.com
Winter Storm Bozeman is moving eastward and will spread snow into the Plains, Midwest, South and Northeast in the days ahead. Winter Storm Bozeman has already delivered a swath of snow from parts of Oregon and Washington to parts of Idaho, northern Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado.
Over a foot of snow has fell in the mountains of Idaho, western Montana, and Colorado. Some areas also saw ice accumulation from freezing rain, especially in the Pacific Northwest.
Winter Storm Bozeman has now become a record November snowstorm in Boise, Idaho, according to the National Weather Service, with 7.6 inches of snow reported.
A storm system began moving into the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday night, transporting mild, moist Pacific air over the shallow, cold air mass near the ground. This has resulted in an unusually early spell of winterlike weather for the region.
Winter storm warnings and advisories continue in the central Rockies and advisories have been extended into parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest.
Strangely for mid-November, the Portland, Oregon metro area and Willamette Valley has also been affected by Winter Storm Bozeman. One-tenth to one-quarter inch of ice accumulation was observed Thursday morning in parts of the Portland metro, as well as Salem, Corvallis and Eugene, accumulating in trees in some areas.
An observer near Blodgett, Oregon, west of Corvallis reported three-eighths of an inch of ice with many trees down as of Friday morning. Over a foot of snow in addition to one-half inch ice accumulation lead to a roof collapse of the Woodgrain Mill in Prineville, Oregon Friday morning.
The precipitation changed over to rain in the southern Willamette Valley later Thursday morning, but a renewed push of colder air flipped the precipitation back to snow and freezing rain in the afternoon. Large flakes were seen falling in Corvallis, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, on Thursday afternoon while ice coated cars and sidewalks in Portland due to freezing rain. Walking was nearly impossible on sidewalks in some of the city’s hillier neighborhoods.
Incidentally, the name “Bozeman” was chosen for this season’s “B” storm in honor of which helped come up with the .
Snowfall was locally heavy from the Cascades east into the mountains of Idaho and Colorado. Top snowfall totals by state through Friday included:
– Montana: 21.4 inches at Black Bear SNOTEL (elevation 8,150 feet) in far western Montana.
– Wyoming: 32.3 inches at Grassy Lake SNOTEL (elevation 7,265 feet) in far western Wyoming.
– Idaho: 28.5 inches at Vienna Mine SNOTEL (elevation 8,963 feet) in the mountains of south-central Idaho.
– Colorado: 21 inches at Coal Bank Pass in southwestern Colorado.
– Oregon: 19 inches (with 0.5 inch ice accumulation) in Prineville in central Oregon.
– Utah: 15.8 inches at Garden City Summit SNOTEL (elevation 7,600 feet) near the Idaho border.
– Washington: 15 inches near White Salmon, in far southern Washington.
This snow comes a bit early, relative to average, in eastern Washington and eastern Oregon. The average first measurable snow in Pendleton, Oregon, and Yakima, Washington, comes in the final week of November. In Bend, Oregon, the average date of the first measurable snow is Nov. 17.
– Saturday: A broad area of snow will spread across the central Plains, Missouri Valley and mid-Mississippi Valley, spreading to the Great Lakes Saturday evening. A second area of snow will plunge southward from the central Rockies and Plains along a .
– Sunday: An expansive area of light snow may fall from parts of the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley and northern New England.
– Monday: A stripe of snow may fall on the backside of an advancing, reinforcing cold front in parts of the Ohio Valley and interior Northeast.
We can’t rule out some patchy areas of sleet and/or freezing rain along the southern edge of the precipitation shield from the southern Plains to parts of Tennessee and Kentucky Sunday and also in parts of the interior Northeast Monday.
Indeed, the exact placement of the sub-freezing surface air through Monday remains a bit uncertain, typical of any winter forecast this far out.
This is particularly the case regarding the rain/snow line in the Northeast on Monday. If cold air remains more stubbornly in place closer to the I-95 corridor, accumulating snow (and potentially some freezing rain) would occur closer to that heavily-populated region Monday. For now, that does not appear to be the case.
Snowfall accumulations in most low-elevation areas should remain less than 6 inches.
The best chance of over 6 inches of additional snow would be in parts of the Rockies, a few localized spots in the central Plains, and the mountains of Upstate New York and northern New England.
Atmospheric moisture may be modest in the , resulting in light accumulations. Without strong low pressure forming along the front, deeper moisture may not wrap into the cold air.
That’s not to say there wouldn’t be significant impacts, however.
It doesn’t take much snow to slicken roads, especially in areas less accustomed to frequent snow where more roads may be untreated. Even pre-treated roads could refreeze as colder air spills in later in the weekend.
Travel may become hazardous from the Front Range of Colorado and New Mexico into the Plains and Midwest this weekend, and parts of the interior Northeast Monday morning. Regardless of rain or snow, significant flight delays are possible in the major Northeast hubs Monday.
Plan ahead if you have travel plans in these areas, and check back with us at weather.com and The Weather Channel for updates to this forecast.
There already have been two unusually early snows in the South: the post-Halloween event in parts of South Carolina and the southern Appalachians, and some light snow that streaked across the Mid-South on Thursday.
Memphis, Tennessee, picked up 0.1 inch of snow Thursday morning, causing traffic accidents and resulting in the city’s earliest measurable snow in any fall-winter season since snow fell on Nov. 7 in 1991. On average, Memphis’s first measurable snow comes Jan. 12.
Little Rock, Arkansas, also picked up 0.1 inch of snow Thursday, its third-earliest measurable snow on record behind Nov. 2 in 1951 and Nov. 9 in 1892.
If the weekend forecast verifies, this mid-November measurable snowfall (at least 0.1 inch) would be quite a bit earlier than average from Missouri and Arkansas to southern Kansas and Oklahoma.
December is typically when the season’s first snow piles up from St. Louis to Wichita to Oklahoma City.
This early snow would not be unprecedented, however.
The earliest-in-season measurable snow on record in Amarillo, Texas, is Oct. 8 (1970). In Oklahoma City, that earliest date is Oct. 26 (1913) while in St. Louis, it’s Oct. 20 (1916).
An inch of snow has fallen as early as Nov. 2 (1991) in Oklahoma City and Nov. 5 (1951) in St. Louis.
Nevertheless, Oklahoma’s capital city hasn’t had a November with more than an inch of snow since 2006 and has had only 17 Novembers dating to 1893 with an inch of snow or more.
Strong winds broke out in parts of the Pacific Northwest Tuesday and Wednesday, prompting high wind warnings for parts of western Washington and northwest Oregon, injuring one person in Portland and blowing trees onto houses in the Seattle-Tacoma area. At least 66,000 customers were still without power Wednesday morning in the two states as winds continued to knock down trees and power lines.
The winds are the result of the same winterlike air mass that has plunged all the way south to the Gulf Coast and eastward into the Ohio Valley behind a powerful cold front. A powerhouse high-pressure zone over western Canada and the northern U.S. is also trying to literally push this frigid but shallow air through gaps in the Rocky Mountains and from there into the Northwest, where it faces a second obstacle in the form of the Cascade Range.
The high, whose central pressure was 1051 millibars (31.03 inches of mercury) over Canada’s Northwest Territories Tuesday afternoon, has proven plenty strong enough to do just that. Winds began howling before sunrise Tuesday in the Columbia River Gorge just east of Portland, Oregon — the most prominent gap in the Cascades, cutting a 4,000-foot-deep valley through the mountains.
Winds gusted according to a Weather Underground personal weather station. Powerful gusts continued throughout the day and night, and some 26 hours later Crown Point clocked a 79-mph gust at 6:22 a.m. Wednesday. The winds became even more ferocious there Thursday, when the site measured an 88-mph gust at 9:43 a.m.
Gusty winds knocked several trees on to I-90 in Denny Creek, Washington, prompting the closure of portions of the interstate on Wednesday. Wind gusts as high as 61 mph were observed Wednesday at Enumclaw, near the east Puget Sound lowlands in western Washington.
Farther west, sustained winds of 30 to 35 mph with gusts as high as 53 mph buffeted Portland International Airport, on the banks of the Columbia River, for much of the day Tuesday. Gusty winds continued at PDX on Wednesday and Thursday.
Despite the rough winds, most afternoon flight arrivals to and departures from the airport were on schedule Tuesday, according to the airport’s website. The wet and icy conditions led to a few delays and cancellations Thursday.
However, a bicyclist was seriously injured on Naito Parkway in downtown Portland Tuesday afternoon after being hit by a large tree felled by the strong winds.
KGW-TV said The outages knocked out traffic lights in downtown Vancouver, Washington:
By early Wednesday morning, Clark Public Utilities had whittled their outages down to about 4,000 customers in southwest Washington, while Portland General Electric reported 10,800 customers in the dark in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. Most customers in southwest Washington had power restored by Thursday.
Farther north, those cold easterly winds also cut through some of the passes through the Cascades in Washington, leading to winds that downed trees along the Route 410 corridor east of Tacoma, Washington, on Tuesday. Some fell on houses, as shown here:
KING-TV said some 25,000 customers lost power in western Washington Tuesday due to the winds. A peak gust of 59 mph was clocked in Enumclaw, where the White River exits the mountains into the Puget Sound lowlands.
Outages continued to mount Tuesday night and Wednesday morning as the winds continued. Puget Sound Energy said 52,000 customers were without power as of 7 a.m. PST Wednesday, mostly in Pierce and southern King counties. The utility said it had restored power to 130,000 customers, some of whom had lost power more than once.
About 6,000 customers were still in the dark Thursday afternoon. PSE said some customers may not see power restored until Friday. This is an issue, considering bitterly cold temperatures have settled into the region. On Wednesday morning, a record low of 28 degrees was set at the Seattle National Weather Service forecast office, which broke the previous record set in 2000.
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