Dec. 3, 2011 - The First Widespread Snowfall Event of The Season

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December 3, 2011

First Widespread Snow Event of Season


To the right is a National Weather Service Radar loop,  valid from 12:15 am to 8:00 pm CST, Dec. 3rd.

The NWS Hastings coverage area is located within the orange outlined area labeled "GID", with the Interstate highways in red.

(Click Radar Loop To Enlarge)

 
 Summary:

A strong but rather quick-moving upper level disturbance pushing across the Plains brought the first truly widespread snow event of the 2011-2012 winter season to the NWS Hastings coverage area on Saturday, December 3, 2011. The majority of the 30-county area measured between 3-6 inches of snow by the time the system pulled out late in the afternoon or early in the evening (see snowfall map below). However, there were limited exceptions on either side of this 3-6 inch range. On the higher side, a narrow corridor in far western portions of the area, including places such as Lexington, Elwood and Cambridge tallied 7-9 inches. On the opposite end of the spectrum, far southeast portions of the coverage area, primarily Mitchell County in North Central Kansas, received little to no snow, although Beloit measured 1.12 inches of much-needed rainfall.  

The first flakes starting flying shortly after midnight, as a band of snow developed along a line from southwestern Nebraska into north central Nebraska.  As the overnight hours continued, additional precipitation shifted north into North Central Kansas and portions of South Central Nebraska, but with temperatures nearly steady in the lower to mid-30s, this precipitation fell primarily as rain.  Toward sunrise, more of the region gradually saw precipitation develop, and with colder temperatures in place further north, brief periods of sleet and eventually snow became the dominant precipitation types.   Precipitation really started a downward trend during the mid to late afternoon hours, eventually coming to an end by mid-to-late evening.  Northerly winds increased to speeds of 15 to 25 mph during the day, with gusts near 35 mph at times resulting in at least minor blowing and drifting of the fairly wet snow.

Below is a table of selected snowfall totals reported by NWS Cooperative Obeservers:

Location

Snowfall (Inches)

Cambridge

9.2

Canaday Steam Plant (6 SSE Lexington)

8.5

8 S Elwood

7.5

Wilsonville

7.0

Minden

6.2

Miller

6.0

Bradshaw

6.0

Ord

6.0

3 NE Shelby

5.8

Cozad

5.7

York (3 miles N)

5.5

4N Hastings (NWS Office)

5.1

Kearney Airport

5.1

Greeley

5.0

Fullerton

5.0

Osceola

4.8

4 SE Phillips

4.5

Loup City

4.4

Edison

4.0

Grand Island

3.9

6 ESE Clay Center

3.8

Burr Oak, KS

3.5

Smith Center, KS

3.4

Ravenna

3.4

Fairmont

3.0

Holdrege

3.0

Geneva

3.0

Ionia, KS

3.0

4 WNW Plainville, KS

2.8

4 E Superior

2.6

Hebron

2.2

2 S Alton, KS

2.0

Bruning

2.0

Beloit, KS

NO snow, but 1.12" rain

Below is a visible satellite image captured Sunday morning, December 4th, showing the well-defined swath of snow extending from eastern Colorado northeast into Iowa and South Dakota. Note the very sharp cut-off on the southern edge of the snow band, where warmer temperatures kept precipitation as liquid in places such as Beloit, KS.  There are some mid/upper level clouds located over western portions of Nebraska and Kansas, as well as a patch of low level stratus over eastern Nebraska into Iowa and South Dakota, but the overall area of snowfall can easily be seen.

Below is a map showing snowfall totals from NWS Cooperative Observers as well as observers from the Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (NeRAIN) and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).  This snowfall map is a "best-approximation" of actual measured amounts. Some reports may not be included, and amounts reflected on the map may not match locations exactly due to the effects of interpolation and "smoothing" used to create the maps. These preliminary data may contain errors.

 

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



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