PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HASTINGS NE
333 AM CST TUE NOV 29 2005
...MOST RECENT BLIZZARD SIMILAR TO JANUARY 1996 BLIZZARD...
THE BRUTAL BLIZZARD CONDITIONS OF SUNDAY AND MONDAY WERE EERILY
SIMILAR TO A JANUARY 1996 STORM WHICH CRIPPLED THE AREA. WHITE OUT
CONDITIONS WERE THE NORM DURING BOTH STORMS. SNOWFALL AND WIND
SPEEDS LOOK TO BE A BIT HIGHER WITH OUR MOST RECENT BLIZZARD...BUT
IN 1996...BITTER COLD DESCENDED DOWN UPON THE REGION IN AMAZING
FASHION.
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TEMPERATURE COMPARISONS 1996 VS. 2005
ON JANUARY 17 1996...TEMPERATURES FOR MUCH OF THE DAY WERE IN THE
30S AND 40S ACROSS A LARGE PART OF SOUTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA AND NORTH
CENTRAL KANSAS. A STEADY RAIN FELL IN MANY LOCATIONS...NOT UNLIKE
LAST SUNDAY...WHEN OVER AN INCH OF RAIN FELL IN SOME AREAS.
LATE IN THE AFTERNOON...A RUSH OF BITTER COLD AIR QUICKLY CHANGED
THE RAIN TO SNOW...AND EXTREMELY STRONG NORTH WINDS PUMMELED THE
AREA. WINDS OF 50 TO 80 MPH BATTERED SOUTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA AND
NORTH CENTRAL KANSAS BACK IN 1996...AS TEMPERATURES TOOK A NOSE
DIVE BELOW ZERO.
AT GRAND ISLAND IN 1996...FOR EXAMPLE...LETS LOOK BACK AT THE
3 HOURLY OBSERVATIONS ON THE 17TH AND 18TH.
DATE      TIME  TEMPERATURE   SUSTAINED WIND       WEATHER
1/17/96   NOON      35        SOUTHEAST 11 MPH     RAIN/FOG
          3 PM      39        NORTH 3 MPH          RAIN/FOG
          6 PM       5        NORTH 51 MPH     1/4 MILE VIS. SNOW
          9 PM       1        NORTH 35 MPH     1/4 MILE VIS. SNOW
1/18/96  MIDNIGHT    0        NORTH 40 MPH     1/2 MILE VIS. SNOW
          3 AM      -1        NORTH 43 MPH     1/4 MILE VIS. SNOW
          6 AM      -2        NORTH 40 MPH     1/4 MILE BLOWING SNOW
          9 AM      -4        NORTH 43 MPH     3/4 MILE BLOWING SNOW
          NOON      -3        NORTH 40 MPH     4  MILES BLOWING SNOW
AS ONE CAN SEE...TEMPERATURES DROPPED SOME 40 DEGREES BACK IN 1996.
FOR COMPARISON...TEMPERATURES DURING THE MOST RECENT STORM GRADUALLY
SLID FROM THE 30S INTO THE 20S. SO...IT WAS MUCH COLDER WITH THE
JANUARY 1996 BLIZZARD. AS OF EARLY TUESDAY MORNING...TEMPERATURES
WERE HOLDING IN THE 20S.
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WIND AND VISIBILITY COMPARISONS 1996 VS. 2005
THE MAXIMUM WIND GUST AT GRAND ISLAND IN 1996 WAS 63 MPH ON THE 17TH
AND 64 MPH ON THE 18TH. WINDS WERE SUSTAINED AT OVER 35 MPH FOR ABOUT
20 HOURS.
FOR COMPARISON...THE MAXIMUM WIND SPEED AT GRAND ISLAND ON SUNDAY
NOVEMBER 27 WAS 44 MPH...AND 62 MPH ON MONDAY NOVEMBER 28. WINDS
HAVE BEEN SUSTAINED AT OVER 35 MPH FOR ABOUT 24 HOURS.
JUST TO THE WEST...70 MPH WIND GUSTS WERE COMMON AT BROKEN BOW.
IT APPEARS...WINDS WILL ACTUALLY BE STRONGER WITH THE 2005 BLIZZARD
WHEN COMPARED THE 1996 STORM...ESPECIALLY IN TERMS OF THE PROLONGED
NATURE OF THE HIGH WIND SPEEDS.
IN 1996...THE VISIBILITY WAS AT OR LESS THAN 1/2 MILE FOR ABOUT 15
HOURS. IN 2005...THE VISIBILITY WAS AT OR LESS THAN 1/2 MILE FOR
ABOUT 10 HOURS. FURTHER WEST...IN THE AREAS OF HEAVIER SNOW...THE
VISIBILITY WAS AT OR LESS THAN 1/2 MILE FOR OVER 24 HOURS.
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SNOWFALL COMPARISONS 1996 VS. 2005
SNOWFALL IN 1996 AVERAGED FROM 2 TO 6 INCHES ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL
NEBRASKA AND NORTH CENTRAL KANSAS DURING THE STORM.
SNOWFALL WITH THIS EVENT LOOKS LIKE IT WILL AVERAGE FROM 1 TO 10
INCHES IN GENERAL...WITH THE HIGHEST AMOUNTS ACROSS DAWSON...
GOSPER...PHELPS...HARLAN...FURNAS...AND PHILLIPS COUNTIES.
IN 1996...KEARNEY...GRAND ISLAND...AND HASTINGS...MEASURED FROM 2
TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW. SIMILAR AMOUNTS ARE LIKELY WITH OUR MOST
RECENT BLIZZARD.
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IMPACT 1996 VS. 2005
BOTH THE 2005 AND 1996 BLIZZARDS CRIPPLED TRAVEL OVER THE REGION.
THE 1996 BLIZZARD WILL BE MOST REMEMBERED FOR THE 300 VEHICLES
ABANDONED ON INTERSTATE 80 BETWEEN GRAND ISLAND AND KEARNEY...AND
ANOTHER 250 VEHICLES ON U.S. HIGHWAY 30 BETWEEN THE SAME CITIES. 10
FOOT DRIFTS WERE COMMON IN 1996. IT HAS YET TO BE SEEN HOW HIGH THE
DRIFTS WILL BE IN 2005.
1996...INTERSTATE 80 WAS NOT OPEN FOR BUSINESS UNTIL MIDDAY ON
JANUARY 19TH...ROUGHLY TWO DAYS. IT APPEARS INTERSTATE 80 WILL BE
CLOSED FOR ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME WITH THE 2005 STORM.
IN KANSAS...INTERSTATE 70 REMAINS CLOSED IN WESTERN SECTIONS OF THE
STATE AS OF EARLY TUESDAY MORNING...WITH WHITE OUT CONDITIONS IN OPEN
COUNTRY.
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BUT WHAT ABOUT THE 1983 THANKSGIVING STORM?
IN THE MOST RECENT 30 YEARS...THE 1983 THANKSGIVING STORM IS
GENERALLY CONSIDERED ONE OF THE WORST. SIMILAR TO 2005...IT STARTED
ON THE SUNDAY AFTER THANKSGIVING...AND CRIPPLED TRAVEL AND COMMERCE
FOR DAYS. HOWEVER...THE 1983 STORM DUMPED 1 TO 3 INCHES OF SLEET IN
SOME AREAS...AND ANYWHERE FROM 6 TO 16 INCHES OF SNOW. A LARGE
SECTION OF SOUTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA MEASURED OVER A FOOT OF SNOW.
THE 1983 STORM WAS FOLLOWED BY THE COLDEST DECEMBER ON RECORD AS
WELL.
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WHICH ONE WAS THE WORST?  1983 OR 1996 OR 2005?
THAT IS A HARD QUESTION TO ANSWER. IF YOU WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO
EXPERIENCE ALL THREE STORMS...THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION PROBABLY
STEMS FROM YOUR MEMORY AND EACH STORMS IMPACT ON YOU AND YOUR LIFE.
WHAT WE CAN ANSWER DEFINITIVELY IS...OUR MOST RECENT BLIZZARD...WAS A
BLIZZARD WHICH WILL LEAVE A LASTING IMPRESSION ON MANY ACROSS SOUTH
CENTRAL NEBRASKA AND NORTH CENTRAL KANSAS FOR YEARS TO COME.

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