Huge Storm Produces Worst Ice Storm In Years To Ontario, Record Mid-Atlantic Warmth!

Written by on December 22, 2013 in North and South America, United States of America with 0 Comments

What an incredible storm system we’ve seen and are seeing with huge variation of wild weather over North America. From snow in Texas to severe weather across Arkansas and Mississippi to the biggest ice storm in years across Southern Ontario, northern Vermont and New Hampshire, heavy snow and drifting over northern Maine all the way to Newfoundland. To top it all off, while frigid air drives down the Plains all the way to Lubbock on the backside of the storm, record warmth drives north up the Eastern Seaboard with an incredible 80 degrees over parts of central Virginia, 70s for DC, Baltimore and likely Philly.

A major ice storm also impacted a large swath of Oklahoma as well as across Southern Ontario, Quebec and northern New England. Several inches of snow fell further north on the cold side of the long fetched frontal boundary.

Here’s a view from space capturing the storm’s long fetch of thick cloud associated with the frontal boundary in which waves of low pressure ran along.

Satellite image captures the storm and the huge cloud plume stretching from the Gulf Coast up to eastern Canada. (Courtesy of NOAA)

Satellite image captures the storm and the huge cloud plume stretching from the Gulf Coast up to eastern Canada. (Courtesy of NOAA)

Here’s a great graphic from AccuWeather showing the different types of precipitation as well as vast temperature difference between North Dakota’s -0s and Georgia’s 80s.

Source: AccuWeather

Source: AccuWeather

The most iconic images from this storm will likely be the thick icing which occurred on the storm’s northern flank which tore down trees and power lines, causing hundreds of thousands to loose power across Southern Ontario. Some 250,000 across Greater Toronto alone lost power, many more across a broader area.

The reason for such conditions? Warmer air (10C or 50F) at 1-5,000ft above the ground where temperatures remained at freezing or below. With this warmth relatively close to the ground, rain doesn’t have time to change over the snow and so liquid turns instantly over to ice when it hits the subfreezing surfaces. Everything turns to ICE! Weight of this thickening accumulation as it rained steady for up to 60 hours across Ontario, meant trees and power lines came down.

Check out these amazing photos which show the destructive power of rain falling onto a frozen surface.

Here’s the scene out of Brampton, Ontario.

Incredible scene from a street in Brampton, Ontario this morning (Courtesy of @scubafantoo)

Incredible scene from a street in Brampton, Ontario this morning (Courtesy of @scubafantoo)

Another great shot of the destructive beauty in Brampton, ON.

Dangerous mess in Brampton, ON this morning. (Courtesy @Elle_Tomlinson)

Dangerous mess in Brampton, ON this morning. (Courtesy @Elle_Tomlinson)

North of the freezing rain zone! Here was the scene at the Caribou, Maine NWS office…

Heavy snow, some drifting this morning up at the Caribou, Maine NWS office. (Courtesy of NWS Caribou)

Heavy snow, some drifting this morning up at the Caribou, Maine NWS office. (Courtesy of NWS Caribou)

(Cover Image: Major icing this morning in Hamilton, Ontario (Courtesy of @WeatherHAMILTON)

Major rains has already forced roads to close across Missouri and the Ohio Valley. That heavy rain shifts with the front east into the coastal plain by Monday.

QPF rainfall next 48 hrs.


Check out the current temperature spread across the Northeast right now! 70 in NYC vs 15 in Caribou where it’s snowing heavily still.



COLD air flows in on the backside of the system so the coldest night of the young winter is on the way to Southern Ontario and the Great Lakes. MAJOR temperature crash is also on the way to the WARM ZONE!

Here’s Christmas Eve!!



Even colder Christmas Day!!



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Reinforcing Cold Into January?

Up till now, I think you’ll agree that it’s been a cold December from the Plains on east. What’s interesting however is the fact that both NAO and AO, two key oscillations which can (especially in the mid to later half of winter) which can signify a cold or mild pattern. They have been predominantly + up till now but as we head towards the new year. Both oscillations look set to go negative and as well as that, there is signs of some warming around the edge of the polar stratosphere, which could suggest a reinforcing cold pattern for January over the Lower 48.

Here’s the NAO and AO ensembles off the GFS.



Here’s the stratospheric temps by 48 hrs. A fairly circular pool of cold over the pole.


Check it out by 240 hrs. Note the warming at 10mb over Siberia and the stretching out of the cold pool! That could be the initial indicator of a stratospheric warming event over the pole and a hint for the 2-3 week period. Keep in when that there’s typically a 10 day lag between warming at the stratosphere level and transfer of cold down into the mid latitudes.


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