Post-Storm Analysis: February 15, 2013
February 15, 2013

Post-Storm Analysis: February 15, 2013

The past ten days has been very active around the United States, with extreme weather from blizzards to tornadoes. This blog will briefly share some information from each event that occurred during these past ten days.

Winter Storm #1

The stage was set for a massive Winter Storm to take hold of the Northeast. During the night of February 7, 2013 a piece of energy was pushing across the Great Lakes, bringing with it the cold and snowy weather in a clipper style format.  The second part of the storm was coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. These two storm systems were on a crash course for the Northeast.

Image Credit: Joshua Kelly

The morning of the 8th, the colder system from the West started to push into the Northeast, allowing for the beginning of snowfall from west to east across the region. However, the southern storm system started to move into the Mid-Atlantic region and was lacking cold air.  This caused most of the moisture in the DC and Baltimore area to fall as rain and some mixed precipitation.

Later, during the day on the 8th, both storms started to merge into one larger storm system. This is known as phasing in the weather field. Once the phasing took place, the heavier snowfall started falling across a good portion of the Northeast from New York City northward to Boston and into Maine. The heavy snows also fell westward over the interior portions of the Northeast.

Snowfall amounts of 6-12 inches were common from New York City westward across the New York and PA border. As you moved further northward into Central New York and CT along with VT and NH, the snowfall totals became heavy quickly. These locations saw snowfall totals around two feet of snow with some places even passing three feet.  The winds from this storm left a lot of cleanup work that needed to be done as of February 14th, many places are still digging out from the massive snow piles throughout the region. Some places in the Northeast have taken advantage of the snow days and put the older kids to work helping get rid of all that snow.

Winter Storm#2

Also on the evening of the 7th, and going into the 9th, another storm system began to take shape over the Colorado Rockies. This storm pushed northeastward across the Northern Plains and into the Western Great Lakes.  This storm system was also responsible for some very heavy snowfall amounts. Places in eastern Colorado saw six plus inches, while in the southwestern part of the state snowfall amounts passed one foot.  During the evening of the 9th and into the 10th, this storm moved out into the Northern Plains this is where some of the heaviest snowfalls occurred. In central South Dakota many places saw up to nine inches of snow, while the real bull’s eye for this storm happened over the northeastern part of South Dakota. Places in the northeastern part of the state saw snowfall totals over one foot and some places even got near two feet of snowfall.

The other big story was the winds, as many places in the region saw winds gust over 50mph, which created blizzard conditions across the region.  These strong winds also aided in the formation of some very large snow drifts across roads, causing many interstates and highways to be closed through this region well into Monday.

Image Credit: Joshua Kelly

Severe Weather #1

There was also a severe weather side to the storm system that moved through the Plains, as many places along the Gulf Coast dealt with heavy rains and severe weather.  The National Weather Service estimated that around 19 tornadoes were spawned on the 10th, extending from eastern Texas where one was reported, while the majority of the tornadoes fell in Mississippi. A few tornadoes did also fall into Alabama.

The tornadoes were responsible for a lot of structural damage along with many injuries. Most of the injuries were from the Mississippi tornadoes. The National Weather Service rated many storms that day in the lower end of the EF Scale; however, one storm that sticks out from the day was the storm that hit Hattiesburg, MS.

This storm was called a Wedge Tornado due to the structural nature of the base. The storm was also later rated by the NWS as an EF-4 storm.  This storm started to the West-Southwest of Hattiesburg and then moved right through the southern portion of the city. The path of this storm is visible just by driving through the region. A massive EF-4 storm can be completely devastating to any area that it impacts. The town did suffer damage from buildings being destroyed along with large trees being uprooted. This storm even went through the University of Southern Mississippi and did significant damage to the area. When this storm first started out southwest of town, it ran through smaller cities and did damage to buildings there as well. The storm stayed on the ground and went further Northeast, causing more destruction to buildings in another city to the Northeast of Hattiesburg known as Petal, MS.

This storm also created a band of very heavy rainfall from eastern Texas all the way through portions of northern Louisiana and southern Mississippi before pushing into southern Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. Some places in this region received over three inches of rainfall in a short amount of time, which increased flooding in the region.

Winter Storm #3

The next storm system that has been impacting the United States has now begun to push out of the southwestern United States. This storm system brought more winter weather to places like Amarillo, Texas and western parts of Oklahoma.  Some of these places picked up four or more inches of snowfall from this event. This storm system is slowly working its way towards the Northeast and will likely have an impact on the Great Lakes region as well over the next 24-36hrs.

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