March, a month known for putting all of its meteorological wares on display, certainly lived up to its reputation across the U.S. Tuesday. While one storm—responsible for a record-breaking 18” of snow over northern Nebraska and a swarm of twisters in its warm southern flank from Arkansas to Florida churned east—a new Pacific storm raced ashore. It prompted winter weather warnings across the mountains of 12 Western states. Snowfall on Utah’s hardest hit slopes through Wednesday was predicted to hit 1-2 feet, with 3 ft. tallies not out of the question.
Though the latest western storm produced only modest rainfall in Los Angeles proper Tuesday—much heavier amounts fell in the surrounding mountains—it was enough to push the area’s precipitation since last July to 34.85”. The wettest since 38.18” fell during the same period in 1889-90.
For a tornado to dip from the skies over San Francisco is an uncommon meteorological event. But, that’s what happened Sunday afternoon. Twenty homes and businesses in the Bay area were damaged by the twister which formed above the Westborough Hills before heading over Interstate 280. The tornado was the first sign that an eastbound Pacific storm system was to mean trouble for other parts of the country. Fueled Monday by the northward rush of 70°/80° temps and humid Gulf moisture, the same storm generated eight twisters from powerful thunderstorms which swept sections of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and threatened an even more potent severe weather outbreak Tuesday. But, storms in spring are products of huge temperature variations in the atmosphere—and this system is no exception. While thundery weather and large hail pummelled areas to the south, 6-8” of snow buried sections of western Nebraska. And another western storm threatened new snowfalls up to 16” farther west in Montana’s mountains.