Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Powerful Midwest Storm

12:45 pm Update: Low clouds, northeast winds and fog continue to hold the temperature down in Montreal. We are currently at 10C while Ottawa is 17C behind the warm front. A powerful storm over the western Great Lakes is providing wild weather from the prairies to Ontario. Severe thunderstorms have produced at least a dozen tornadoes and funnel clouds across the upper Midwest. Severe thunderstorm watches are now in effect for southwest Ontario. Winds are gusting to 100km/h around the system. In Saskatchewan, rain has changed to snow and visibilities have dropped to under 1km in Moose Jaw and Regina with snow and blowing snow. Several bloggers including the Weather Channel are reporting a new state low barometric pressure record for Minnesota (962.1 mb) as of 11:30 this morning, beating the record from November 1998.

An early season Midwest storm is gathering strength as it moves across northern Minnesota this morning. The storm was responsible for 10-15cm of snow from central Alberta and Edmonton yesterday and southeast into Saskatchewan this morning. As the low pressure deepens winds are increasing across southeast Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Look for rain to change to snow today and become steady from Regina into Weyburn and Estevan and east into southern Manitoba. The heavy snow will also fall across North Dakota. Winter Storm Warnings are posted for southeast Saskatchewan, while Blizzard warnings are in effect for North Dakota. Travel will be very difficult in that region today and is not advised. The storm will produce strong winds up to 100km around the center from the Great Lakes westward into the Prairies. As the system slides east, strong winds and rain with thunderstorms will move into southern Ontario and eventually southern Quebec and New England. Today the focus will be on the western Great Lakes and upper Midwest where heavy rain will be driven by storm force winds. Pressure records are in jeopardy across Minnesota as the storm continues to deepen. According to Jesse Ferrell at AccuWeather.com , computer models are predicting a pressure below 28.50" or the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane. Strong winds on the east side of the storm are pushing warm weather into the east with highs forecast between 15 and 20C for Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Meanwhile temperatures will drop to or below freezing on the backside of the storm from Regina to Winnipeg.

This morning winds are out of the south gusting to 46mph at Chicago on the east side of the storm while in western North Dakota and Montana they are out of the northwest at 35mph with snow and blowing snow. Montreal has slowly warmed to 8C with fog while Ottawa is up to 14C this morning. With a little luck the warm air will move into the valley and we should see 15 or 16C in Montreal with some breaks. Winds and precipitation will increase in Quebec tomorrow as the storm approaches. By Halloween we will be on the backside of the system with flurries and cool weather, but it looks better for the trick or treaters than it did 24 hours ago.

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