Put the gargantuan snowstorm that hit Virginia and North Carolina during Dec. 8-10 in, say, Vail, Colorado, or South Lake Tahoe, California, and you've got hydrologists and skiers alike giving the event the thumbs-up. But, the magnitude of the storm where it occurred means something else entirely.
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) notes that:
A record-breaking snowstorm produced 12 to 24 inches of heavy snow from Tennessee across North Carolina and Virginia, creating widespread disruptions. Over 200,000 homes and businesses were without power, with many roads and schools closed. Several counties in western North Carolina declared emergencies, deploying National Guard units to help respond to calls for assistance. Some areas received over 18 inches of snow in 48 hours. One North Carolina town in the Pisgah National Forest (Busick, NC) recorded 34 inches of snow.
For North Carolina, this heavy snow just adds to an official fall season of hard-to-believe weather events. First, Hurricane Florence made camp over the state, bringing very heavy rain, flooding, and wind damage. Then, Hurricane Michael brushed the state on its track out of the Florida Panhandle and much of Georgia. And now, this snowstorm caps off a triple play of extreme weather events.
The coming weekend brings a new dose of storminess to the southeastern U.S. also -- this time, in the form of moderate to heavy rain courtesy of El Nino. That Pacific Ocean warming that we have been updating is likely helping to fire up the sub-tropical jet stream; and, in so doing, is allowing a storm track to focus over the southern U.S. Almost the entire Southeast will get rain from this big weather system; and, in North Carolina and Virginia, that rain may cause some flash flooding. So, for yet another weekend, it looks stormy over the Southeast. Any calming-down of things before the Christmas holiday will no doubt be welcome.
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