Another Severe Storm on Deck
As much of the United States is still feeling the effects of the severe storms that distressed the country last week, the nation braces for another round of severe weather. Quick on Winter Storm Jupiter’s coattails is another severe storm, which already has a name. Winter Storm “Kori” is forecast to hit the west coast by mid-week, establishing yet another atmospheric river over the region. Multiple weather warnings have been issued well ahead of this storm as most of the Pacific Northwest prepares for flooding, ice, freezing rain, and high winds. Parts of the Portland metro area along with the Washington Cascades and the Columbia River Gorge will have the greatest chance for damaging ice accumulations as cold air and precipitation will linger in those areas the longest.
The storm is expected to persist through the weekend as the front plows eastward. Meanwhile, a concurrent storm will have the Southeast experiencing waves of heavy rain. Two converging fronts will cause warm, tropical air to be pulled up from the south bringing unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy rainfall over the majority of Appalachia. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible. It appears 2017 will start off the year with the vengeance that was expected–but didn’t materialize–from last year’s El Nino weather pattern.
Earlier Severe Storms
In previous weeks, western states received much needed rain, helping to alleviate concerns due to record warmth and prolonged drought. Parts of the Sierra Mountain range, under drought since December of 2011, are now buried under as much as 10 feet and have already doubled the average snow-pack for this time of year. Similarly, the State of Colorado has already received 75% of its annual snow-pack and a staggering 400 avalanches have been recorded to date. Down in Texas, heavy rains drenched the state and at least four tornadoes were spotted late Sunday.
The Midwest, however, seems to have taken the brunt of the recent bad weather. The ice storm pushed eastward leaving a swath of downed trees, power outages and traffic accidents in its wake. Freezing rain and ice accumulated on trees and powerlines across the heartland, causing them to collapse under the added weight. Multiple Midwest states reported power outages leaving thousands of customers without electricity. According to the Associated Press, Oklahoma was especially hard hit with “tens of thousands of Oklahoma homes and businesses (reporting a loss of) power during Jupiter.”
The swift and frigid storm also made for extremely hazardous driving conditions which resulted in several road closures and numerous auto accidents. Hundreds of injuries and sadly 7 fatalities were caused by the slippery surfaces.