...Wild Weather Across the Ozarks...

An early season Winter storm brought an abrupt end to a 8 day long streak of temperatures which were at least 10 degrees above normal for this time of year.  From the 22nd of November through the 29th of November, afternoon high temperatures reached the mid 60s to lower 70s each day, some 11 to 22 degrees above normal. 

The strong storm system had been developing out in the Rockies for many days prior to shifting east into the plains.  Much colder air was bottled up in Alberta, Canada waiting for this storm system to drop into the southern plains to head south.  Gulf moisture had been streaming northward into the Missouri Ozarks and southeast Kansas for several days ahead of the storm system.  As the front moved into the area on the 29th, showers and thunderstorms developed both ahead and behind the front bringing several inches of rainfall to the area over the course of the 29th and 30th.  

As surface temperatures fell below freezing late on the 29th and during the day on the 30th, the rain began falling as freezing rain with temperatures above the surface too warm for snow.  Temperatures aloft would gradually cool to where precipitation changed over to sleet which became very heavy at times.  The sleet and freezing rain actually accumulated some one to three inches before changing over to snow late on the 30th.

As the surface low tracked from the bootheel region of Missouri late on the 30th into western Indiana by the morning of the 1st, much colder air had moved into the region and changed all of the precipitation over to snow.   The track of the low allowed for the heaviest snowfall to occur from west central Missouri into central Missouri where between 13 and 17 inches of snow occurred.  Lesser amounts occurred further to the south and east where the precipitation was slower to change over to all snow.  Embedded thunderstorms allowed for snowfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour to occur in the heaviest snow bands.  When combined with wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph, near zero visibilities were common in the heaviest snow.

Near record to record low temperatures are expected in the wake of the snowstorm, which just goes to show how variable the weather can actually be in the Ozarks.  Within the span of 10 days the area has seen record highs, record precipitation, flooding, an ice storm, record snowfall, and now record lows.

Here are some additional links related to the above story...

Total snowfall map for the November 30th-December 1st snowstorm
County by county snow and ice totals

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