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Snow Totals From Monday

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Winter returned to areas of the southeast through Monday as snow began flying from Yankton and Sioux City northwestward to Sioux Falls, Sioux Center, and eventually Worthington, MN.  The snow was all part of a much larger storm system that moved through the central parts of the country.  The snow was actually welcome for many farmers as fields continue to be dry, as we have had below average precipitation for 7 of the last 8 months.  But obviously, if you had to drive in it, it was not welcome at all as cars were found in the ditch across much of the area.  Here is a look at some of the snow totals for the area with Sioux City receiving the most at about 6 inches.  The rest of the southeast received a pretty good dose with 1-4 inches pretty widespread.

But as you move north and west, the totals drop off quite rapidly as the band of snow didn’t really move much through the day.  This may seem unusual because many of us area used to seeing storms move across our area in generally the same direction from west to east.  But actually, the events of today are quite common for winter storms, which is why snowfall totals can vary drastically from one location to another.  The image below is what the radar looked like from around 11:30 Monday morning.

Notice that the snow is actually set up in an arc like shape.  This shape is called a deformation zone. To put this literally, it’s a zone that deforms from the rest of the atmosphere.  In a typical snowstorm, there will be an area of snow that develops from many different components all having to do with some form of lift and moisture in the atmosphere.  Well on the northwest side of this band, often times you will get even more rising air due to extra convergence at certain height levels.  This can create an area of snow that sits over one location and continues to dump snow with very little if any movement until the core of the storm is far enough away where it no longer can sustain this band of snow… so the line will just end up falling apart.  A similar event happened today as this band of snow sat over some of the same areas for a few hours.  Now this storm was fairly spread out and not all that strong so most of the snow falling was pretty light.  But, if this had been a stronger storm with more moisture, then many parts of the southeast could have been digging out from more then a foot of snow a lot like Nebraska was just last week.

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