Storm Event Summary

February 01, 2011

 
 
 

A very strong storm system brought significant wintry precipitation to the Missouri Ozarks and southeast Kansas on February 1st, 2011.  This impressive storm system brought significant snowfall totals from Oklahoma through the northwest half of Missouri and into the western Great Lakes region.

A strong area of low pressure moved out of northeast Texas across Arkansas into the Missouri Bootheel and the western Ohio Valley region by the evening of February 1st, 2011.  A large area of Arctic high pressure over the northern high Plains extended southeast into the mid and upper Mississippi valley regions.  Warmer air associated with the low pressure system battled the colder air of the Arctic air mass and these temperature differences created a transition line of precipitation type across the Missouri Ozarks during the morning hours of February 1st.

As the low continued to lift northeast across Arkansas and into the Missouri Bootheel, the colder air continued to push across the Missouri Ozarks from the northwest, eventually changing the precipitation type over to all snow.  The heaviest snowfall occurred in locations where the precipitation type changed over to all snow the earliest, mainly over west central Missouri into the Lake of the Ozarks region.  The most significant icing took place over south central Missouri where the warmer air held on the longest.  In some parts of the eastern Ozarks, the temperatures remained above freezing for much of the event, keeping precipitation in the form of light rain.

There were actually two rounds of heavy snow.  The first round mainly occurred during the morning hours of February 1st, mainly north of the low pressure system as it tracked northeast across Arkansas.  Some drier air then moved into the region as the low moved into the bootheel region of southeast Missouri with a second wave of heavy snow moving into the region on the back side of the low during the afternoon and early evening hours.

Snowfall amounts ranged from around 20 to 24 inches in parts of west central into central Missouri to trace amounts over south central Missouri.  In addition to the heavy snowfall, winds of 15 to 30 mph with some gusts near 40 mph occurred during the day and nighttime hours of February 1st creating significant blowing and drifting of snow along with bitterly cold wind chills.  This created near blizzard like conditions with near zero visibility at times and several feet of snow drifts.


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