Nov. 16th Snow Event Highlights The Challenging Aspect of Forecasting Snow Amounts


Difficulties in Snow Forecasting

If you take a look at the pictures below, you can see why it is sometimes difficult to forecast snow amounts!

On the morning of November 16, 2011, a very narrow but persistent band of wet snow set up over southern Nebraska and northern Kansas. This band stretched from northeast Colorado through McCook, Nebraska, and over to just south of Beloit, Kansas. The primary snow band was only about 10 to 12 miles wide, and those that lived in this band saw as much as 3 inches in some places.  If you lived just outside this band, you likely saw nothing more than a flurry up to maybe several tenths of an inch! For much of North Central Kansas and a small part of far South Central Nebraska, this was the first "real" snow of the season.

The first set of pictures below are visible satellite imagery, depicting what Earth's surface looks like from hundreds of miles up in space. Sometimes in the cold season it is difficult to distinguish snow on the ground from clouds, because both of these features show up as white in color (such as in the images below). However, when putting satellite images into motion (not shown), one can see that areas of snow cover do not move with time, while clouds are constantly in motion.

Click Images To Enlarge
Snowband Snowband


Photos from Downs, KS (courtesy of JoAnn and Duane Robinson)
Snowband Snowband


The table below highlights a few of the highest-known measured snowfall amounts from the event.  Given that some snow likely melted before observers had a chance to measure, some accumulations might have been a bit higher than shown.
(Most reports are from law enforcement, NWS Cooperative Observers, Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (NeRAIN) observers 
and CoCoRaHS observers

  Some of the Highest Snowfall Totals, Nov. 16, 2011


Snowfall (Inches)

Downs, KS (public report) At least 3
Cambridge (coop observer) 2.7
Alma (NeRAIN) 2.5
Phillipsburg, KS (law enforecement) Around 2
Beloit, KS (10 miles SSW, CoCoRaHS) 2.0
Alton, KS (coop observer) 1.5
Lebanon, KS (coop observer) 1.0
Stockton, KS (law enforcement) 1.0
Naponee (2 miles SW, NeRAIN) 1.0
Beloit, KS (coop observer) 1.0
Smith Center, KS (coop observer) 0.6



This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.


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