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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 11/23/2010

Crazy, extreme weather leads up to Thanksgiving

By Jason Samenow

Where are Wednesday's travel trouble spots?

* Thanksgiving rain? Full Forecast | Predictions gone awry *

Forecast high temps today. Light pinks are single digits to near zero in northern Montana. Source: National Weather Service.

The combination of a massive Arctic outbreak out West, a warm surge in the East and powerful storm in the transition zone is wreaking weather havoc as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. Even Alaska is contending with unusual weather, as unseasonably mild air bumps up to the Arctic circle, bringing widespread rain and ice rather than the customary snow.

Check out these examples of weather extremes I've aggregated from the past, present, and projected future (areas impacted in bold test):

TODAY'S WEATHER TROUBLE SPOTS - "Dangerous travel in the West with wind & snow. Blizzard warnings in E. WA, ID, W. MT, UT, NE. NV, W. CO."

National Weather Service, Salt Lake City - "A high confidence forecast for a very strong system that will produce potentially dangerous winds...heavy snowfall...and whiteout conditions that will make evening travel treacherous [around Salt Lake City]."

National Weather Service Fairbanks, AK - Winter Storm Warning - "Freezing rain will continue through Wednesday. Additional ice accumulations of up to one half inch is expected...with storm total ice accumulation up to 1 inch."

National Weather Service, Great Falls, MT - Forecast for today: "Snow. Temperature falling to around -10 by 5pm. Wind chill values as low as -28. North northeast wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible. "

Cool WeatherBug time lapse video from Cut Bank, Montana - Current temp -14, wind chill -36 (H/T @WeatherBugMedia)


Eastern Oklahoma to mid-Mississippi Valley - According to Storm Prediction Center: "There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms."

Chicago, O'Hare - The National Weather Service forecasts: "A 40 percent chance of showers after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. Breezy, with a southeast wind between 10 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph."

Minnesota - Meteorologist Paul Douglas at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis says: "The latest guidance is hinting at 2-5" of snow for the metro (closer to 5" if we don't see as much sleet/rain as I'm expecting). Parts of central MN may pick up 4-8" with over 10-12" closer to Duluth. North metro will probably pick up more snow than south metro (where rain/ice may linger a couple extra hours - keeping final snowfall tallies lower)." He adds: "There is a risk of blizzard conditions across parts of the metro between 3 pm and 9 pm tomorrow. Winds may reach 30-40 mph, a thin layer of ice under (rapidly) accumulating snow."

North Dakota - National Weather Service forecast for Bismarck: "Snow and widespread blowing snow. High near 16. North wind between 7 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible."

Colorado ski areas - predicts - "Heavy snow and very cold/windy in the morning. Great powder day if you're dressed for it. Travel could be VERY difficult or impossible between about 2am-8am


Chicago Tribune - "[Monday's] weather turned wild across sections of the Midwest. Fast-moving thunderstorms raced through the area at dizzying speeds, turning tornadic as they raked across areas east of Rockford. The day's record warmth played a role in super-charging the storms."

Our Amazing Planet - "In Wisconsin, the first November tornado in more than 39 years -- which boasted an EF1 strength rating -- struck Walworth County. Another was reported in Union Grove, Wis., but has not been confirmed. Only three November tornadoes have hit Wisconsin since 1950 before Monday (two on Nov. 15, 1960, and one on Nov. 1, 1971)."

Weather Channel - "It was warmer Monday in Barrow, AK (33) than Seattle (32)."

Fairbanks News Miner - "This storm is only the second time in more than 100 years that measurable rainfall was recorded in Fairbanks in the second half of November, according to weather service records. The only other November rainfall on record was Nov. 24, 1936, when 0.42 inches of rain fell."

Associated Press - "The 2 inches of snow that fell [in Seattle] by 5 p.m. Monday at the airport was a record for Nov. 22, besting the previous mark of 1.5 inches. Records there have been kept since 1945, said meteorologist Jay Neher."

Mammoth Mountain, Ca. - 14" of snow. 46" since November 20.'s TheDeepStuff page, new ski resort snows: 16" at Squaw Valley, 14" at Northstar in Tahoe, 13" at Snowbird.

By Jason Samenow  | November 23, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. Weather  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecasting "turkeys": predictions gone awry
Next: PM Update: Showers to end, becoming clear & cool


The best part of this is the north. It is winter. It should be this way. Why cannot the south get it. Thanks for letting us know that winter still exists in this country. Good weather reporting. Cannot wait for football now.

Posted by: louisewilson1 | November 23, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Actually louisewilson1, it's pretty rare to have snow in Western Washington this early in the year. Maybe you're the one that needs to learn some more about the weather.

Posted by: kwclinton | November 23, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

It is just me or is the national map graphic a hidden gay rights banner? NOT that there is anything wrong with that!


Posted by: hisroc | November 23, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Around Lake Tahoe the ski areas have mostly 5-6 foot bases. Kirkwood just got 128 inches in the last 7 days (normal season is 500 inches) They open tomorrow.

Posted by: eric654 | November 23, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

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