1/7/14: Ground Blizzard

Very High Pressure is currently centered in southwestern North Dakota.  Like the event of a few days ago, the pressure is nearing the top of what most home barometers read (31.00″).

6:00 AM Analysed Pressure
6:00 AM Analysed Pressure


That high pressure will move quickly to the southeast today and although the wind will not be as strong as yesterday, it will still be noticeable especially considering the air temperatures.  A shot from our microbarograph of the pressure this morning is presented below.


Pressure of 30.95"
Pressure of 30.95″


Tonight a weak upper air disturbance will bring a dusting to 1″ of snow to especially eastern and northern North Dakota tonight.  Behind that disturbance will come another surge of strong high pressure.  By surge, as the high pressure comes in the pressure gradient behind the weak disturbance and that high will mean a strong wind.  Even stronerg than what the area experienced on Tuesday.

9:00 AM Thursday, January 7, 2015 projected 3 hour precip and surface pressure
9:00 AM Thursday, January 7, 2015 projected 3 hour precip and surface pressure


The wind is projected to blow from 25 to 35 mph with gusts into the 40s.  It is certainly possible that some higher terrain area could get a gust to 50 mph.  One location that will have a higher probability of 50 mph gusts would be areas on the Coteau des Prairies (Buffalo Ridge/Sisseton Hills) in South Dakota.  Of  course, with a strong wind in the winter always comes the prospect of blowing snow.  Although the southern Red River Valley and surrounding areas do not have much if any snow cover and the light snow tomorrow will not be enough to create ground blizzard conditions (although quite blustery), much of the Coteau are of South Dakota to Sioux City had a fresh snow cover earlier this week, meaning if you are traveling to Frisco, TX tomorrow, travel could be very difficult along I29 in South Dakota.  Another area of concern will be north of Highway 2 in North Dakota and Minnesota were there is also a fresh snow cover that will likely create ground blizzard conditions tomorrow as well.  So be alert if you are going to be in those locations.

Surface Pressure and Projected Sustained Wind (Gusts will be higher)

Behind the disturbance with the fierce wind from the north or northwest tomorrow will come another Arctic High that will keep the weather cold for at least another week.  No break in this pattern is foreseen until the latter half of January.

Daryl Ritchison