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> Blizzard of 78 (Midwest)
IndyRayne
post Jan 26 2015, 10:37 AM
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I was hoping someone could answer my question...

The impending snowstorm out east has peaked my curiosity (because of snow volume only, I know the setup and conditions are probably completely different and unrelated).

Living in the midwest, we don't see massive snowstorms very often. 1978 is really the only true Blizzard that I know of. I wasn't born yet when this hit, so I've never experienced this type of weather event in my lifetime. I know it was a pretty rare occurrence and my question is "Why?" (topographic, geographic location, etc.) I've read about how it happened: 2 low pressure systems merged and formed a super-storm. But, what prevents this from happening more often? Is it just the timing of low systems not being synced up, or something more? I know that someday it will likely happen again, but is it really a "100-year-storm" rarity?

Just curious! smile.gif

Thank you to anyone who takes on answering this.
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mmi16
post Nov 8 2015, 12:38 AM
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Not a professional metrological answer -

Most winter storms in the Midwest come out of Canada and/or the Pacific Northwest. The trip over the coastal mountain ranges tend to squeeze most of the moisture out of such storms, what moisture the coastal range of mountains doesn't get is then squeezed out by the Rocky Mountains that also extend from the US into Canada; therefore these storms tend to be very cold and very dry.

To get great amounts of snow you need moisture. Moisture that originates out of the Gulf of Mexico has to enter the storm picture for the Midwest (outside of the Lake Effect areas) to get really dumped on with snow. Gulf moisture normally moves through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolina's in it's Eastward path; for it to get to the Midwest requires anomalies of the Jet Stream.


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