Dec. 19, 2012: A Blizzard Strikes Much of the Area


Snow, Wind and all out Blizzard Conditions on December 19, 2012


Snow and wind combined to create blizzard conditions on Wednesday, December 19th, as a low pressure system moved out of the central Rockies and lifted northeast across Kansas to Missouri.  As the system advanced, snow developed and spread east across the central plains throughout the day and carried into the first part of the night.   Winds increased from the north during the afternoon with wind gusts of 45 mph common, and the combination of the wind and snow created blizzard or 'white out' conditions during the afternoon and evening, especially in open areas.  Travel became difficult if not impossible Wednesday evening, with reports of numerous accidents and road closures.  Interstate 80 remained closed across Nebraska on Thursday morning, December 20th.  

In south central Nebraska, snow amounts ranged from three inches at Greeley, to 9 inches at Gresham and Blue Hill, with the highest storm total of 10 inches at York.  In north central Kansas, snow amounts ranged from one inch at Damar, to five inches at Phillipsburg.  The swath of heaviest snow fell from Wilsonville, NE through Blue Hill and Hastings to Gresham and Osceola.  
Much needed precipitation (melted snow) was observed with this storm system and Grand Island set a daily precipitation record.  Grand Island received 1.04 inches of precipitation on December 19th, which broke the previous record of 0.71 inch set in 1952.  Hastings measured 1.03 inches, Wilsonville recorded 1.05 inches, and 0.94 inch was measured in Osceola.

 

Snowfall map of the Central Plains. Snowfall across the Hastings WFO Outlook area ending at 7am on Thursday, December 20th (requested date). 24 hour liquid precipitation (melted snow) map ending at 7 am Thursday, December 20th. 


Peak wind gusts are shown in the table below.

Location Peak Wind Gust (mph)
Grand Island, NE 47
Hastings, NE 47
Lexington, NE 46
Holdrege, NE 45
York, NE 45
Aurora, NE 43
Hebron, NE 43
Kearney, NE 41
Phillipsburg, KS 40
Ord, NE 38

  Top Snowfall Amounts From Our Observers

Location Snowfall (Inches)
York 3N 10.0
Blue Hill 4SW 9.0
Gresham 3W 9.0
Hastings 8.1
Bradshaw 8.0
Clay Center 6ESE 8.0
Osceola 8.0
Wilsonville 8.0
Grand Island 7.0
 

Snow pictures from December 19-20th.  If you have any photos you would like to share, please email our webmaster or post on our Facebook site.

Snow falling in Hastings December 19. After the storm.  Residential Hastings on December 20. After the storm.  Residential Hastings on December 20. After the storm.  Residential Hastings on December 20.
Visible satellite imagery showing snow on the ground (clear skies) across the Central Plains on December 20. Snow and icicle picture in Hastings.  Photo by Hannah Keen.  Ducks and geese enjoying the snow. Our office parking lot the night of December 19th.



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