The Midwest skips autumn and sets off for winter to end the week.
A possibly record-breaking blizzard hits the region and could throw snow from Colorado to Minnesota. The Dakotas are near the epicenter of the storm and could see up to three feet of October snow (yes, you read that correctly). In gusty winds you have a recipe for life-threatening conditions. For a region that has already dealt with an unusual blizzard in the early season the recent winter strike is hardly to be welcomed.
In parts of the Rocky Mountains and the Front Range, snow fell on late Thursday morning. Several accidents and are piling up in Greater Denver. The highways were closed as the police tried to respond under the worsening conditions. With Denver climbing 80 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, Thursday will be difficult to reach freezing. From local time in the afternoon, temperatures hovered at just 22 degrees Fahrenheit and a wind cold of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
The chaos in Colorado is just a preview of what's to come. As the storm pushes east, the ice-cold air will continue to fall out of Canada and sweep across the Midwest. Together with the rapidly falling temperatures, the storm will trigger wind speeds of over 100 km / h and heavy snowfall.
In parts of North Dakota there is a blizzard warning. The worst is expected on Friday morning and lasts until Saturday. The National Weather Service said in its warning that residents should be prepared for serious weather: "Travel should be limited to emergencies only. If you have to travel, you have a survival kit for the winter. If you are stranded, stay with your vehicle.
The cold is likely to lower the record temperature in a number of places, while the snow could set records for October, especially in places in North Dakota where the heaviest snow could fall.
The source of the wild weather is a huge jetstream twist, a breeze that races from west to east around the world. When it is straight, it holds the warm air in the south and the cold air in the north. But occasionally it can become undulating, so that cold air falls south into the troughs and warm air gathers north under the crests. This week's contortionist appearance in the atmosphere will allow the cold of Canada to fall to the Midwest . West of the dip filters warm air in California and the southeast. The heat in the southeast is notable but in California the risk of forest fires has led to the state's largest power utility deliberately turning off the power .
Studies suggest that a Wavier beam could be driven in part by the rapid warming of the Arctic. The northern layer of the planet warms faster than the rest of the world. This, in turn, causes the temperature gradient, which normally keeps the jet taut, to become somewhat looser, causing wobble in the airflow. While no one has performed an analysis whether this particular storm is related to this phenomenon, researchers expect ripples to occur more frequently in the jet stream. And since the Arctic sea ice – a key indicator of warming in the region – has just reached its second-lowest historic stand this September it certainly fits a pattern.