Winter Weather Returns to The Tri State Area

Winter Weather Returns to Area



        A powerful winter storm system began to move across the area today, spreading strong winds and blizzard condtions to portions of the area. The following is a list of the strongest wind reports that have occured so far across the area. Snow and blowing snow combined with the strong winds to create areas of white out conditions across the northwest corner of the Goodland County Warning Area.

Location Wind Gust Speed(mph)
Yuma 60     543 AM MDT
Goodland Airport 64     917 AM MDT
Kirk 67     803 AM MDT
Decatur 56     816 AM MDT
12 NNE Goodland 60     911 AM MDT
3 W Bird City 62     836 AM MDT
2 NW Haigler 58     837 AM MDT
Grinnel 57     841 AM MDT
McCook 56     844 AM MDT
Burlington Airport 71     949 AM MDT
5 W Goodland  65    1112 AM MDT
St. Francis 55     904 AM MDT
3 NE Kirk 68     904 AM MDT
12 W Goodland 78     905 AM MDT
Oakley 57     907 AM MDT
2 W Yuma 61     936 AM MDT
Stratton Colorado 55     936 AM MDT
Weskan 59     952 AM MDT
Atwood 59     955 AM MDT
3 SSE Oakley 63     955 AM MDT
Brewster 54     958 AM MDT
Seibert  59    1006 AM MDT
Colby  58    1033 AM MDT
2 S Tribune  61    1039 AM MDT
2 WNW Tribune  61    1039 AM MDT
Sharon Springs  60    1057 AM MDT
Flagler  63    1231 PM MDT

        Measurable snowfall also occured across much of the area, and at the Goodland airport the snow was the 9th latest measurable snowfall on record. The following lists the top ten latest snowfalls at the Goodland airport.

Date Year
May 16th 1968
May 13th 1985
May 12th 1966
May   6th 1978
May   5th 1982
May   4th 1991
May   4th 1967
May   3rd 1990
 May   2nd 2008
 May   2nd 1988

        This storm system also produced widespread severe weather across the Central Plains with several tornadoes reported. The following images are of all the Local Storm Reports received at SPC.

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May 1st Local Storm Reports

May 2nd Local Storm Reports


        A strong upper level low pressure system moved over the area during the morning Overnight May 1st and into the morning of May 2nd. By 6 AM MDT (7 AM CDT) a strong upper level  low had moved onto the plains with widespread thunderstorms developing ahead of an advancing cold front. An intensifying surface low across southwest Iowa resulted in a tight pressure gradient setting up over the Tri State Area. The image on the left displays water vapor imagery, 1 hour lightning plots and 500 mb geopotential heights. The image on the right displays sea level pressure (yellow isobars) across  the area. Although the surface low and cold front are well to the east of the area, the closely spaced isobars indicated a strong pressure gradient across the area.

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6 AM MDT Water Vapor/500 mb heights

6 AM MDT Surface Sea Level Pressure

        Precipitation quickly began to spread across the area during the morning hours, and while a few locations reported rain, precipitation quickly changed over to snow.  Snow spread across the area from the northwest as the intense upper level circulation began to advect moisture around to the western half of the system.

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6 AM MDT Composite Reflectivity

9 AM MDT Composite Reflectivity

        By Noon MDT strong winds had spread across the entire area as the low pressure system across Iowa continued to intensify and a high pressure system moved eastward into Wyoming.  The strong upper level circulation had shifted slightly to the east, with widespread thunderstorms continuing in advance of the system.

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Noon MDT Water Vapor Imagery/Lightning

Noon Sea Level Pressure

        Precipitation had become more widespread across the area at this time, with reports of snow coming from much of the area. The strong circulation with the storm allowed ample moisture to be "wrapped around" the system. The image on right displays winds and mixing ratio (a measure of moisture content) on the 300 K isentropic surface. Cold values indicate more moisture, with warm colors indicating drier air.  This level is at different heights across the map and air generally will flow along the surface.  For intance this level is very close to sea level across the Gulf Coast, but around 12000 ft above sea level across northern Nebraska. Very moist air was being drawn northward ahead of the system, and then being advected back to the west.

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Noon Composite Reflectivity

Noon 300K Mixing Ratio/Wind


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