Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blizzard? Not a Blizzard

Snow cornice formed by wind.
The "Blizzard of 2012" is what I've heard two TV news stations in Indianapolis call the most recent snowstorm that hit early this morning.  There was some wind and there was a good amount of snow, but calling it a blizzard seemed excessive for what actually occurred.  Originally, the blizzard warning issued by the National Weather Service was set to expire at 7pm December 26.  However, the warning was replaced with a Winter Weather Advisory by mid afternoon when conditions no longer met blizzard criteria (if they ever did).  A blizzard is defined as a storm in which the following persist for at least three hours; winds frequently gusting to or sustained at 35mph (56kph) and blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile (400m) or less.

 Moving on, with the recent storm I estimate that 9" (23cm) of snow fell between 12am and 3pm.  The liquid precipitation  measurement came in at 0.88" (22mm).  Had the temperature been lower the snow would have been much drier and therefore we may have had higher snow totals.  

It's interesting to see how the wind can shape the snow during these storms.  I know none of the pictures included in this post are anything special, but it is neat to see.  The second picture shows where the wind swirling around the deck planter scoured out the snow around it leaving nearly two feet of snow on either side.  The last pictures shows how the wind has plastered the south side of the garage with snow even though the wind was coming from the north.
Below is a 1 minute time lapse video I made of the storm from 6:30am to 9:30am.  You can see how strong the winds were.

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