2019-20 United States winter storm season

The 2019-20 United States winter storm season was the least active season since accurate records began in 2012, with only 19 named storms. The season started on November 1, 2019 and ended on April 30, 2020; however, the first storm of the season, Aubrey, formed on October 8. The second storm, Bessie, formed before the beginning of the season as well, making it the first time that two winter storms were named in the month of October. The first half of the season was extremely above average, but warmer-than-average temperatures led to a very inactive January, February, and March. Activity picked back up in April, but the window for favorable conditions was quite brief.

Seasonal predictions

AgencyNamed StormsRelease date
TGMC22-24July 12, 2019
WCB24-26July 13, 2019
LMA23-25August 22, 2019
TGMC (revised)22-26September 15, 2019
BNWC20-26September 16, 2019
LMA (revised)21-25September 16, 2019
DHC17-20October 16, 2019
TGMC (revised)20-22December 29, 2019

The first prediction for the 2019-20 season was released on July 12, 2019, by the TornadoGenius Meteorological Center (TGMC), calling for 22-24 named storms and a good chance of an East US-concentrated season. A second prediction was released on July 13, 2019, by the Weather Center of Buddhaland, calling for 24-26 named storms. On August 22, 2019, the LMA predicted a slightly above average season, around 23-25 named storms, similar to the previous two seasons, which had featured 24 named storms. TGMC revised their prediction for the season yet again, calling for an uncertainty in named storm amount. It listed top analogs as 2013-14[1], 1980-81[2], 2016-17[3], 1959-60[4], and 1996-97[5]. On September 16, 2019, the Bob Nekaro Weather Center released its prediction for the season, calling for 20-26 named storms, with 0-2 storms affecting Raleigh, NC. On the same day, the LMA issued its revised forecast, calling for 21-25 named storms, with 7-10 affecting Colorado. On October 16, 2019, the DHC predicted 17-20 named storms, signifying a very below average season. TGMC released its first mid-season outlook on December 29, 2019, calling for the potential of a very mild winter across much of the United States, limiting the amount of winter storms in the Eastern 2/3 of the US. TGMC compared this to the second half of the 2016-17 season.

Seasonal Snow Index (SSI)

Every year, the Season Snow Index is taken. It is the average of the top snowfall totals of each season. The SSI of the 2019-20 season was 24.49 inches, the lowest since records began in 2012.

Storms

Winter Storm Aubrey

Winter Storm Aubrey formed on October 9. Spokane, Washington, picked up 3.3 inches of snow late on Oct. 8. That tied as the city’s second-snowiest October day in records dating to 1893. Power outages and broken trees limbs were reported because of the heavy, wet snow in the Spokane area, as well as in adjacent parts of northern Idaho, according to the National Weather Service. More than 30,000 Avista Utilities customers in eastern Washington and northern Idaho were without power on the morning of Oct. 9. Blowing and drifting snow were reported in parts of northern Idaho and western Montana. Whiteout conditions near Leadore, Idaho, on the morning of Oct. 9 led to several vehicle slide-offs, according to a report received by the National Weather Service. A 29-mile stretch of Interstate 15 in northeastern Idaho was closed in both directions midday Oct. 9 due to blowing snow, according to the Idaho Transportation Department. Two to 4 inches of snow accumulated in the Denver metro area on the morning of Oct. 10, though the official measurement at Denver International Airport east of the city was 1 inch. Nearly 100 traffic accidents were reported in the Denver metro on the morning of Oct. 10 as snow made roadways slippery. Snow also accumulated in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Oct. 10, making it the third-shortest time between the last 1-inch snowfall of the spring and the first snow of the fall (140 days). On the morning of Oct. 11, whiteout conditions occurred near Northwood and Hensel, North Dakota. Difficult travel was reported in various portions of North Dakota early Oct. 11 due to heavy snow and gusty winds. Over a dozen rescues took place between Jamestown and Crystal Springs, including a bus with 42 people on board, on the morning of Oct. 11. Blizzard conditions were reported on Oct. 11 in several locations in North Dakota, including Devils Lake, Jamestown and Grand Forks, where visibility was reduced to one-quarter mile or less due to heavy, blowing snow and gusty winds. Many North Dakota roads were closed or travel was not advised from Oct. 11 into Oct. 12. As the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, North Dakota, noted, this Northern Plains snowstorm occurred exactly one year after a somewhat similar storm dumped over a foot of snow in parts of eastern North Dakota in mid-October 2018. This snowstorm set October snowfall records in parts of the Northern Plains. Jamestown State Hospital in North Dakota reported 14 inches of snow through Oct. 11, which broke its three-day October snowstorm record of 4.9 inches (Oct. 29-31, 1951). Aubrey dissipated on October 12.

Winter Storm Bessie

Winter Storm Bessie formed on October 28. Denver picked up 7.7 inches of snow at Denver International Airport as this snowstorm dropped southward through the Rockies. An initial burst of heavier snow moved through the Chicago metro area on October 30. Western suburbs of the city received 1 to 3 inches of slushy accumulation. Snowfall amounts were generally modest in most areas of the upper Midwest, though a few locations in southern Wisconsin and eastern Iowa reported 6 to 8 inches of snow. With just under 3 inches of snow, Milwaukee recorded its snowiest Halloween on record. Bessie dissipated on November 1.

Winter Storm Caleb

Winter Storm Caleb formed on November 10. Across a wide swath of the United States, 16 states were under Winter Weather Advisories as a major blast of Siberian Arctic air pummeled the country from New England to the Deep South. The Arctic blast unleashed snow, freezing rain, and record low temperatures from Texas to Maine, making much of the nation feel a lot more like the middle of January than the middle of November. More than a month before the fall season even officially ends, millions of Americans like Chicago resident Steve O’Brien have already been feeling the powerful arctic blast, asking, “It’s winter already?” O’Brien had to use an engine cover to scrape the white stuff off his windshield. “There are certainly more graceful methods out there but this was just the hardest, straightest thing I had on me,” said O’Brien, a resident of the windy city. Up to half a foot of snow fell across the Chicago area Monday turning into ice as temperatures plunged by nightfall. “It’s quite invigorating, to say the least,” said Dianne Van Wormer, a Chicago commuter. “You get a little nature facial.” The weather led to problems at Chicago’s airports, including a plane sliding off a runway at O’Hare. “When we first hit the ground, the plane wasn’t actually stopping, it kept on going, it was sliding on the ice,” said Luis Torres Curet, a passenger onboard that American Airlines flight. Fortunately, no one was hurt in that incident, but more than 1,000 flights had to be canceled due to the weather. In Detroit, three women were killed Monday in a head-on collision blamed on icy road conditions. In northeastern Kansas, an eight-year-old died when a truck slid on ice and lost control hitting her family car. In Kansas City, Missouri, firefighters had to work quickly to rescue a man as his car dangled 50 feet off a highway ledge after sliding off icy roads. Caleb dissipated on November 13.

Winter Storm Dorothy

Winter Storm Dorothy formed on November 24. A pre-Thanksgiving storm buried the Front Range of the Rockies with heavy snow, then brought accumulating snow and strong winds to parts of the Central Plains, upper Midwest and northern Great Lakes. Winter Storm Dorothy began to spin over the central and southern Rockies early on Nov. 26, bringing feet of snow to central Colorado during the day. During the evening, snow began to spread across Nebraska, northwestern Kansas and into the Corn Belt. One person was killed and three more were injured in an accident involving three semi-trailers and a pickup truck on Interstate 70 just west of Vail, Colorado, during the afternoon of Nov. 26. Parts of interstates 70 and 76 in Colorado and Interstate 80 in Wyoming closed due to low visibility and heavy snow early on Nov. 26. Hundreds of flights were canceled out of Denver International Airport heading into the busy Thanksgiving travel weekend. More than 3 feet of snow fell near Fort Collins in northern Colorado. Denver picked up 9.5 inches of snow. Near-blizzard conditions were recorded at several sites in eastern Colorado and northwestern Kansas, including Goodland, Kansas, and in Weld County, Colorado. Thundersnow was reported briefly in southern Nebraska, just east of Kearney during the afternoon. To the south, strong winds whipped up across the Southern Plains, sparking at least one small fire in Oklahoma. A flow of moisture also picked up from the northern Gulf Coast into the Ohio Valley. The moisture combined with wind shear and enough heat to spawn a few tornadoes in Louisiana and Mississippi late on Nov. 26, including two EF2 tornadoes. Dorothy turned its sights on the Midwest the following day, bringing periods of heavy snow from Iowa and Minnesota to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Kids across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area got off early for Thanksgiving break due to the storm and road conditions. More than two-dozen flights were canceled at the Twin Cities’ main airport on the busiest pre-Thanksgiving travel day. The Twin Cities picked up more than 9 inches of snow, but wind may have been an even bigger story in the southern Great Lakes. Gusts climbed to around 60 mph from Chicago to Indianapolis. Strong winds knocked pieces of wood from a construction site into two cars near the Willis Tower, causing minor injuries to one of the drivers. More than 270,000 customers were in the dark due to the strong winds from Wisconsin and Illinois to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Dorothy moved into the Northeast on Thanksgiving, bringing gusty winds to much of the region and snow to New England. Gusty winds put a damper on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. At least one balloon, the Ronald McDonald balloon, ripped in gusty winds, and all of the balloons were lowered to gain control. At least one handler was hit by a balloon and knocked on the ground, but no major injuries were reported. The strong winds knocked out power to an additional 20,000 customer in Maine where most residents saw a white Thanksgiving. Snowfall from this storm was heaviest in the Colorado Front Range, where the top total was 40.5 inches at Buckhorn Mountain, in the foothills west of Fort Collins. Boulder picked up 22.3 inches of snowfall. Snow totals in excess of 6 inches were also measured in parts of eight other states from the Central Plains to the upper Midwest. Dorothy dissipated on November 28.

Winter Storm Ezekiel

Winter Storm Ezekiel formed on November 26. The Northeast’s first significant snowstorm of the season also brought widespread snow and wind from the West into the Northern Plains and upper Midwest, hampering post-Thanksgiving travel. Winter Storm Ezekiel first entered the West Coast last Tuesday, Nov. 26, when it hit southern Oregon and northwestern California as a bomb cyclone. The storm’s minimum central pressure dropped 43 millibars in 24 hours, far exceeding the criteria of 24 millibars within 24 hours to be deemed a bomb cyclone. Last Tuesday night, the pressure dipped to at least 973.4 millibars in Crescent City, California, as Ezekiel made landfall. This value was an unofficial all-time record for the lowest sea-level pressure observed anywhere in the state of California, according to the National Weather Service office in Eureka. Cape Blanco, Oregon – the notoriously windy spot on the Pacific Northwest coast – recorded a sustained wind of 85 mph with a gust to 106 mph last Tuesday afternoon. The storm then moved slowly eastward across the West, Plains and upper Midwest Nov. 27-30, spreading snow and strong winds through parts of those regions. Snow, freezing rain and sleet spread into the Northeast beginning on Dec. 1, continuing into Dec. 3. Overall, wind gusts over 60 mph were measured in 11 states from the West Coast to the Rockies to Texas, Kansas and Nebraska. This led to blizzard or ground-blizzard conditions in parts of the High Plains, including the Denver metro area. In Rapid City, South Dakota, this snowstorm set new November one-day (14.5 inches on Nov. 30) and monthly (26 inches) snow records, with blizzard conditions reported in northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. In Duluth, Minnesota, the storm total of 21.7 inches landed in its top-10 list of heaviest two-day all-time snowfalls, with blizzard conditions. It was the city’s heaviest two-day snowstorm since the Christmas 2009 storm, according to NOAA’s ACIS database. In the Northeast, the heaviest snow fell from the Mohawk Valley of New York to parts of southern Vermont, far western and northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, where several locations tallied over 20 inches of snow. A 36-inch total was reported near New Ipswich, New Hampshire. Albany, New York, had its eighth-heaviest all-time snowstorm, the heaviest since the infamous March 1993 Superstorm, picking up 22.6 inches of snow. Prior to this storm, only 10 other snowstorms since 1884 had produced at least 20 inches of snow in New York’s capital city, according to the National Weather Service. Just over 7 inches of snow fell near Boston’s Logan Airport, but many locations north and west of the city reported over a foot of snow. In the New York City tri-state area, Central Park measured 1.6 inches of total snow. Newark-Liberty Airport tallied 2.5 inches, but parts of far northern New Jersey picked up over 6 inches of snow. Ezekiel dissipated on December 3.

Winter Storm Finley

Winter Storm Finley formed on December 15. Multiple accidents were reported Sunday on snow-covered roads in the Kansas City metro area, where around 8 inches of snow had fallen through early Sunday evening. Farther east, an estimated 2 to 5 inches of snow had fallen in the St. Louis metro area as of late Sunday afternoon. Portions of multiple interstates were closed because of multi-vehicle accidents Sunday, particularly in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. One of those crashes on westbound Interstate 80 in Nebraska resulted in two deaths, The Associated Press reported. Two others died in a separate vehicle accident in Sarpy County, Nebraska. Troop F of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said that as of 2 p.m. Sunday, it had received 138 calls for service, involving 68 crashes and 39 slide-offs. Troop A, which covers the Kansas City area, said it had received 308 calls for service by 2 p.m., including 97 stranded motorists, 114 non-injury crashes and 12 injury crashes. A 12-mile stretch of Interstate 70 was closed southeast of Manhattan, Kansas. The crash involved three semitrailer trucks and two other vehicles, The Associated Press reported. Several crashes blocked lanes on Interstate 35 and I-435 near Kansas City, Kansas. A police officer in Lenexa, Kansas, said, “The highways are terrible right now.” The Kansas Department of Transportation warned that travel to the Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium would be more difficult because of the storm, which The Weather Channel named Finley. Fox Sports tweeted video of a snowball fight at the stadium. The Kansas DOT also said two of its snowplows were struck by other vehicles. Travel on I-35 was also slowed by crashes on the Missouri side of the city. A crash closed southbound I-35 in Clinton County about 1:45 p.m. Officials expected it to be shut down for about an hour. The Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department said more than 40 traffic collisions were reported between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday. Multiple tractor-trailers jackknifed on I-29 near Northmoor, Missouri, north of Kansas City, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The northbound lanes near I-635 were closed. Across the state, westbound I-70 was closed about 10:30 a.m. by several crashes east of St. Louis. Several crashes were slowing travel on I-270 in St. Louis, and on I-64. Police in O’Fallon, Missouri, said a section of the interstate was likely to be closed for several hours Sunday. About 9:35 Saturday night, the same winter storm caused a multi-vehicle crash on westbound Interstate 80 at Fort Bridger, Wyoming. The road was icy, and the crash involved six tractor-trailers, two passenger vehicles and a moving fan, according to the Uinta County Fire and Ambulance. Four people were taken to a hospital in Evanston, Wyoming. Two teens were critically injured in a crash on an icy road in Bourne, Massachusetts, Tuesday morning, according to WCVB. Police were called to the scene of the crash on Route 28 at 7:19 a.m. after a Toyota Tacoma slid off the road and crashed into a tree. The 17-year-old driver and 14-year-old passenger both sustained life-threatening injuries. That National Weather Service in Boston said freezing rain was causing accidents and other issues along the south coast of Massachusetts. The storm was also impacting air travel for at least three major airports. Newark International, LaGuardia and Boston’s Logan airport were all reporting arrival delays of up to nearly two hours as of about noon Tuesday due to weather, while some departures were also delayed, according to flightaware.com Dozens of school districts either canceled or delayed classes Tuesday across parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. At least 12 people have died in crashes attributed to the weather. One person died in Kansas, five in Nebraska, four in Missouri and two in Indiana. Three people were killed on U.S. 67 north of Bonne Terre, Missouri, when they were hit by a Jeep, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The driver of a Chevrolet Malibu got out of his car after it crashed and two other people stopped to help him. All three were then hit by the Jeep after it crashed and overturned. The Missouri State Highway Patrol identified the three people as Paden Sorbello, 23; Joseph Reddick II, 43; and Heather Rusan, 39; of Bonne Terre. The Jeep driver received minor injuries. In Callaway County, Missouri, 18-year-old Nathan Clingman died when his car slid off of Highway 94 and overturned, according to the State Highway Patrol. Officials in Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas reported hundreds of calls for help from motorists on Sunday. Dozens of crashes were reported. Finley dissipated on December 17.

Winter Storm Gage

Winter Storm Gage was named on December 27. Interstate 5 through the Grapevine Pass north of Los Angeles was closed due to excessive snow cover, but was reopened after being closed for about 36 hours, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The California Highway Patrol was escorting motorists over the pass. Interstate 15 was closed in both directions at the Nevada state line Friday morning, where crews worked to remove 3 feet of snow and ice. It was also reopened later in the day. Holiday travelers were stuck in hours-long traffic jams as they sought alternate routes or got caught up in hazardous road conditions. Some slept overnight in their cars. A 60-year-old woman was killed when the car she was riding in went off a snowy road and crashed into an embankment in San Diego County. The San Bernardino County Fire Department rescued two motorists who became stuck while off-roading in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday afternoon. Weather conditions prohibited a search by air, but a bulldozer blazed a five-mile trail through several feet of snow to reach them, according to a press release. Hundreds of vehicles got stuck on interstates and thousands of customers lost electricity on Thursday. Snow and ice caused about 150 cars and trucks to get stuck on I-5 late Wednesday night, according to KCBS. The California Highway Patrol said a driver was found dead about 8:30 a.m. inside a semitractor trailer on a part of I-5 that was closed overnight, KABC reported. A cause of death hasn’t been announced. Johnny Lim was stuck for five hours in Cajon Pass. He worried his car wouldn’t make it to Las Vegas when the pass reopened. At lower elevations, the problem was rain. A 52-year-old man had to be rescued from 3 to 6 feet of water in the Sepulveda Basin in Van Nuys at about 2:15 a.m. Thursday, according to the L.A. Times. A tree was pulled out of the soggy ground in Woodland Hills and damaged the entrance of an apartment building, KABC reported. It also blocked all lanes of Burbank Boulevard. In Lynwood, a tree crashed down on two families’ homes. “About 2, 3 in the morning, it was raining pretty hard at the time. Not sure when I heard the loud noise if it was lightning or a car crash. When I stepped outside, I was able to see a big tree on top of my house,” homeowner Andy Cisneros told KABC. Tornado warnings were issued for parts of the Santa Barbara County coast and parts of Orange County late Wednesday night. No damage was reported. Snow covered most of the roads in west, north and central Nebraska. A crash near Kearney, Nebraska, closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 80. A jackknifed tractor-trailer also blocked lanes on the interstate near Wood City. Officials urged drivers to say off roads in northwestern and western central Minnesota because of whiteout conditions. Troopers responded to several crashes and vehicles that slid off the road throughout the night. First responders responded to 470 crashes, including 270 spinouts and 13 jackknifed semitrailers, across Minnesota on Saturday as the roads iced over. Forty-three accidents involved injuries and two were fatal. The Minnesota State Patrol said an 82-year-old man died about 6:30 a.m. Saturday near Lino Lakes when his vehicle slid off an icy road and rolled into a ditch, and Another man died after he crashed his car into a tree in Brockway Township early in the morning on December 28. In North Dakota, all of Interstate 29 and Interstate 94 between Bismarck and Fargo were closed in both directions, and travel was discouraged across much of the rest of eastern North Dakota. Highway troopers and state snowplow operators had to rescue drivers stranded along the I-29 near Gardner, North Dakota. The city of Fargo issued a rare no-travel advisory. “In our history, the City has rarely issued no travel advisories and only does so when conditions require,” city officials said in a Facebook post. Interstate 90 was closed in both directions in South Dakota. Gage eventually brought heavy snow and ice to the northeast, which lasted into New Year’s Day. Gage dissipated on January 1.

Winter Storm Henry

Winter Storm Henry formed on December 31. A weak disturbance began to drop rain and high-elevation snow to the Pacific Northwest on December 31, then brought heavier snow to parts of the Intermountain West on New Year’s Day. Parts of Idaho, western Montana, Wyoming, western Colorado and northern Utah picked up snow through late on New Year’s Day, including in Salt Lake City where enough snow was expected to issue winter storm warnings. Winter Storm Henry was named due to these warnings. More than a foot of snow fell in the Wasatch, including in Alta, Utah, which picked up 16 inches. The highest snowfall totals from Henry came from southern Wyoming, to the west of the I-25 corridor. Two to four feet of snow fell from Whiskey Park to Sugar Loaf, Wyoming. Winds gusted to near 60 mph along the I-25 corridor on New Year’s Day. This winter storm was also blamed for killing two in western Montana in an avalanche. Heavy, wet snow and gusty winds increased the instability of the new snowpack near Missoula, Montana on New Year’s Day, where three snowmobilers were hit by the avalanche. Two of the three were killed. This disturbance flurried out over the Rockies on Jan. 2nd as it began to interact with a larger trough of low pressure over the country’s heartland. Henry dissipated on January 2.

Winter Storm Isaiah

Winter Storm Isaiah formed on January 10. The first snow began in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado and New Mexico as a low-pressure system strengthened over the central and southern Rockies. In advance of that system, a stream of heavy rain lined up from the Southern Plains to the southern Great Lakes. During the afternoon of Jan. 10, snow filled in from the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma to Nebraska, Iowa and southern Minnesota, while icing became problematic from Kansas to southern Iowa. There were a few reports of thunder in the wintry precipitation in eastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri at times. Ice accumulated on trees and grass in Topeka, Kansas, and slowed down traffic on roadways and bridges across eastern Kansas. From one to three tenths of an inch of ice accumulation has been reported in parts of Kansas, northwestern Missouri, Iowa, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and Michigan, leading to hazardous travel, particularly on elevated roads and bridges. Snowfall totals were rather modest, generally in the 1- to 5-inch range, from Missouri and southern Kansas into southeastern Nebraska, Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northern Lower Michigan. But some notable snow also fell in more southern locales of the Plains states. On the morning of Jan. 11, snow was reported as far south as Oklahoma, where severe weather struck the previous day. A burst of snow at the tail end of the storm dumped a quick 2 to 3 inches of snow in the far northern suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, and dusted the field at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, site of Jan. 11’s FCS National Championship football game. While only 0.2 inches, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport picked up its first measurable snow in over three years on the morning of Jan. 11. Two inches of snow also was measured in Lubbock, Texas, overnight Jan. 10 into early Jan. 11, prompting at least one road closure. Flakes were also seen in Midland, Texas, at the National Weather Service office early Jan. 11. Almost 4 inches of snow also fell near the Kansas-Oklahoma border in Arkansas City. Winds also intensified in parts of the Plains, Great Lakes and much of the East as the low-pressure system intensified. Gusts over 50 mph were recorded on the morning of Jan. 11 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and Milwaukee’s Mitchell Field. As if that weren’t enough, these strong winds blowing over the Great Lakes, some of which were at record- or near-record-high levels, led to areas of lakeshore flooding. These battering waves reportedly shut down a section of Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive on the morning of Jan. 11 and apparently reached some residential structures in the Rogers Park neighborhood, according to the National Weather Service. According to the NWS-Chicago, a weather sensor at Calumet Harbor measured a water level 2 to 3 inches within the all-time record there, set in August 1986. The NWS-Chicago warned large, battering waves “could exacerbate already significant beach and shoreline erosion” and could heavily damage vulnerable structures. It also said “significant lakeshore flooding is expected. Strong north to northeast winds gusting up to 40 to 50 mph will build waves to 12 to 18 feet with occasional waves up to 23 feet.” On the afternoon of Jan. 11, lakeshore flooding was reported at Whihala Beach in Whiting, Indiana, where water was seen covering most of the beach. The winter storm moved into northern New York and northern New England overnight Jan. 11 into Jan. 12. Heavy snow was reported across northern Maine, while significant ice accumulations occurred in other parts of northern New England and northern New York. Isaiah dissipated on January 12.

Winter Storm Jacob

Winter Storm Jacob formed on January 15. Jacob underwent bombogenesis while it was off the Pacific Northwest coast. This is a term for a low-pressure center that intensifies rapidly. In this case, it went from a weak low Tuesday, Jan. 14 to a 979-millibar powerhouse less than 24 hours later. Joyce, Washington, near the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the Olympic Peninsula, reported up 22 inches of snow. Blowing snow from strong winds ahead of this storm prompted a shutdown of a stretch of Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon on Jan. 15. Snow fell from western Montana to Idaho, Utah and California’s Sierra Nevada as the jet-stream energy associated with Winter Storm Jacob dropped southward into California. The heaviest snow pounded the Sierra Nevada, where as much as 26 inches of snow fell. Two feet of snow was reported along Interstate 80. Chain controls were put in place across many roads in the Tahoe Valley, and icy roads were reported in downtown Reno. Wind gusts over 80 mph along with 1 to 2 feet of snow were reported in the central Sierra in a 24-hour period from early Jan. 16 to early Jan. 17. The snow and strong winds likely contributed to a deadly avalanche at Squaw Valley – Alpine Meadows in California’s Sierra Nevada. Jacob’s jet stream energy pushed across the central Rockies and into the central Plains where a low-pressure system developed and strengthened. Overnight freezing rain lead to widespread reports of icy roads in the Texas Panhandle, including in parts of the Amarillo metro area. Snow accumulated on roads in Omaha, Nebraska, making for a tricky morning commute. Ice accumulations of at least 0.1 inch on vehicles was reported in Wichita, Russell and Great Bend, Kansas. Ice also accumulated on vehicles as far east as Harrison and Mountain Home, Arkansas, early in the day. After a brief period of light snow, precipitation changed quickly to freezing rain in the Kansas City metro area. A plane slid off a slick taxiway at Kansas City International Airport shortly after the precipitation arrived, prompting a closing of the airport. More than a quarter inch of ice accreted from eastern Kansas to western Missouri, including in Jefferson City, Missouri, and Lawrence, Kansas. Up to 0.5 inch ice accumulation was measured near Ridgely, Missouri. Pittsburgh picked up a quick inch of snow overnight, before precipitation changed over to freezing rain. Jacob’s low pressure system pivoted into the Great Lakes while its snow shield expanded from the Dakotas into the Northeast. Parts of the mid-Atlantic picked up ice before warm air surged northward turning the freezing rain into plain rain in spots like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Strong winds lofted snow and created hours of ground blizzard conditions from the Dakotas to Minnesota and Iowa. Blowing snow continued in the Great Lakes. Wind gusts above 40 mph were clocked in several locations in the eastern Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. Huron and Yankton, South Dakota, as well as Imperial, Nebraska, gusted to near 60 mph. Wind chills were as low as the 40s below zero in parts of the Dakotas. Whiteout conditions forced closures of over 500 miles of interstate highways in the eastern Dakotas, including Interstates 29, 90 and 94. According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, rescues of stranded motorists had been undertaken near Jamestown, North Dakota. To the east, Chicagoland picked up 2 to 5 inches of snow before precipitation changed to light freezing rain, then ended. The Detroit metro area picked up 5 to 7 inches of snow before precipitation changed to rain Saturday morning. Cleveland also picked up 2 to 5 inches of snow prior to the rain changeover, including a burst of 2 inches of snow in just one hour at the National Weather Service office in Cleveland. A few tenths of an inch of snow were measured at both Dulles and Reagan National Airports in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Numerous accidents were reported in Erie, Pennsylvania, from ice accumulation on roads. Light icing on vehicles was reported in parts of West Virginia. Snow arrived in New York City, Hartford and Boston during the afternoon hours, mainly bringing light snow to the major East Coast cities. Jacob dissipated on January 18.

Winter Storm Kade

Winter Storm Kade swept from the Pacific Northwest through the southern Plains and into the Northeast with bands of heavy snow and heavy, flooding rainfall. The storm packed a quick punch as it entered the Northeast. Several tornadoes touched down in the mid-Atlantic, then gusts as high as 90 mph battered southern New England as a stripe of heavy snow was laid down in northern New England. The snow began on Feb. 2 in the Northwest as a band of snow dropped through the region. The snow pushed southeastward along the western side of the Rockies and the Great Basin through Feb. 4. A low pressure system developed in the southern Rockies and southern Plains, which intensified snow from New Mexico to Iowa on Feb. 4. Up to 5 inches of snow has been reported in the Oklahoma City metro area, causing several dozen accidents during the city’s first significant snowfall of the season. Wednesday was the heaviest calendar-day snow in Oklahoma City in almost nine years, according to the National Weather Service. In Texas, 14 inches of snow fell in Jayton, Texas, some 80 miles southeast of Lubbock. Thundersnow was observed in Big Spring, Texas, early Wednesday morning. Midland, Texas, had their heaviest snowstorm in over eight years, picking up 7.9 inches of snow. Snow dusted grass and vehicle tops late Wednesday night in Austin, Texas. Snow and sleet mixed for a time in San Antonio. Sleet mixed with rain in Houston, and a combination of sleet and graupel was reported as far south as Victoria and the north side of Corpus Christi Bay. Just an inch or two of snow in central Missouri caused roads and bridges to become slick. Several crashes occurred on snow-covered Interstate 70 west of Columbia, Missouri, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 5. Meanwhile heavy rain flooded much of the South, especially from eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia into the Carolinas, from Feb. 5-6. Rivers surged out of their banks and caused several flash flood emergencies in western South Carolina and in western Virginia. Several tornadoes touched down in Mississippi, Alabama and North Carolina each, and severe wind and hail was reported from Louisiana to Florida and up into the Carolinas. Winter Storm Kade quickly intensified on the morning of Feb. 7, bringing a surge of cold air over the Great Lakes and warm air into the mid-Atlantic. A squall line was produced through the morning hours from northern Virginia to southern New York, producing more than 200 reports of damaging winds and even a few rare February tornadoes. Heavy snow came in two waves across the Northeast, one quick burst for many on Feb. 5-6, then another burst of snow on Feb. 7 as Kade intensified near the Northeast coast. In some spots, this led to more than a foot of snow, especially from northern New York to northern New England. One location in Vermont got close to two feet of snow. Ice accumulations up to about one-third of an inch have been reported in parts of Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Two trees were downed from a combination of ice accumulation and wind in Stillwater, New York.

Winter Storm Lamont

Winter Storm Lamont was a weak winter storm that brought light snowfall from the Midwest to the Northeast.

Winter Storm Mabel

Mabel dropped heavy snow from New Mexico to the Great Lakes in mid-February. The winter storm also produced blizzard conditions in the Dakotas and Minnesota, and heavy rain and even a tornado in the South. Mabel’s DNA went onto become a power low pressure system in the North Atlantic. Winter Storm Mabel began it’s cross-country trek in the Southwest as a cut-off low pressure system off the coast of Southern California on Feb. 9. Thundersnow was reported late Tuesday afternoon in El Paso, Texas, located along the border of both Mexico and the state of New Mexico. Two to 3 inches of snow was reported in several locations in the Texas Panhandle, including the cities of Hereford and Pampa. About a foot of snow was reported in the high country west of Pueblo, Colorado. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, metro area picked up 1 to 4 inches of snow, while 7 to 13 inches of snow was reported in the Sandia Mountains east of the city. Three to 7 inches of snow was reported in Prescott, Arizona, with somewhat higher amounts in the mountains south of the valley. Winds kicked up early Wednesday morning in the Red River Valley, creating blizzard conditions along Interstate 29 in North Dakota. This plunging arctic blast brought high winds and blizzard conditions to parts of the Northern Plains. Visibility was reduced to just a few feet in eastern North Dakota early Wednesday morning, despite only light snow accumulations expected. Among the locations that reported true blizzard conditions – with wind gusts over 35 mph and visibility of one-quarter mile or less for three hours –were Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota; Morris and Appleton, Minnesota; and Huron, South Dakota. Grand Forks reported wind gusts over 50 mph early Wednesday, which brought wind chills down into the 50s below zero. Interstate 29 was closed from South Dakota to the Canadian border for much of early Wednesday but reopened during the afternoon hours. Mabel brought a quick hit of scattered snow showers to much of the Great Lakes and interior Northeast on Feb. 13. Once again, snow was non-existent along Interstate 95, but rain did fall from Boston to northern Florida throughout the day. Lake-effect snow showers fell in excess on the eastern side of the Great Lakes, extending Mabel’s snow for a day after it passed through the region. Mabel’s low pressure system scooted out to sea from southern New England by midday, becoming Storm Dennis as named by the UK Met Office. Dennis became a bomb cyclone and a very large storm over the North Atlantic in the days the followed.

Winter Storm Nash

A low pressure system developed off the Southeast coast bringing just the right combination of moisture and colder air to allow snow to fall in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia. More than 4 inches of snow has fallen so far in southeastern Virginia and the Appalachians of North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. This was the first one-inch-plus snowfall in Raleigh since Dec. 9-10, 2018. Raleigh measured 2.5 inches from this system. Both Charlotte, North Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia picked up 0.3 inches of snow. Just over 5 inches was reported in Franklin, Virginia. A snow-sleet mix was reported Thursday morning in Memphis, Tennessee. Snow accumulated on the tops of vehicles in Florence, Alabama, late Thursday morning.

Winter Storm Odell

This winter storm entered the West last weekend and then tracked across the Rockies and Plains Monday into Tuesday. Snow and blowing snow forced closures on stretches of interstates 80 and 25 in southeastern Wyoming on Tuesday morning. This system dumped more than a foot of snow Monday into Tuesday in and around Rapid City, South Dakota.

Winter Storm Pearl

Winter Storm Pearl formed on March 16. An area of low pressure brought much-needed snow to California’s Sierra Nevada and then pushed eastward through the Plains and upper Midwest. Although this was a rather fast-moving storm once it left California, it produced impressive snow totals in the Rocky Mountain foothills just west of Denver. Totals as of Thursday evening included 23 inches near Nederland, 18.5 inches near Jamestown and up to 17 inches near Genesee. Wind gusts over 50 mph have also been recorded in the High Plains of Colorado and western Kansas. Blizzard conditions were reported in parts of western Nebraska, including near Sidney and McCook. Roads were closed in parts of the southern Panhandle of Nebraska. Much of the snow that fell in Colorado was in the form of large, wet snowflakes, leading to snowfall rates as high as 1 to 2 inches per hour. Wind and snow contributed to hundreds of flight cancellations at Denver International Airport, including more than 80% of Southwest’s flights for Thursday. Interstate 70 was closed Thursday afternoon in eastern Colorado and extreme western Kansas due to dangerous conditions. Interstate 80 was also closed in the Nebraska Panhandle. Flagstaff, Arizona, picked up 14.5 inches of snow and Alta, Utah, saw up to 9.5 inches into early Thursday from this winter storm. This system also brought feet of much-needed to snow to the Sierra Nevada. Pearl dissipated on March 19.

Winter Storm Quincy

A coastal low spread snow across parts of the interior Northeast and rain for most locations near the coast. Some of the heaviest snow on Monday was reported in central New York, where 6.8 inches piled up in Syracuse, its second-snowiest day this winter season. Up to 6 inches of snow was also measured in parts of New York’s Capital District, including the city of Schenectady. Mildford, New Hampshire, Quechee, Vermont, and near Norridgewock, Maine, all measured 11 inches of snow. Lake Desolation, in the southeast Adirondacks, picked up 9 inches of snow, and up to 8.8 inches of snow was reported in Savoy, Massachusetts. This system also brought a few inches of snow to northeastern Illinois Sunday night. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport picked up 2.2 inches of snowfall. Snowfall was in short supply for most of the Northeast this winter, and it has been two years since the last high-impact snowstorm hit the Northeast urban corridor.

Winter Storm Ruth

Winter Storm Ruth was named on April 11. Ruth brought light snowfall to the Upper Midwest before dissipating early on April 13.

Winter Storm Sadie

Winter Storm Sadie was named on April 16. Sadie dropped a swath of snow from the northern and central Rockies eastward to the southern Great Lakes and Northeast. Northern parts of the Denver metro area picked up 6-12 inches of snowfall while the Rockies west of Denver have picked up more than two feet. Boulder reported 16.9 inches, the city’s second 16-inch-plus snowfall in just four days. More than 10 inches of snow fell in parts of southern Iowa and northern Missouri as this system pushed eastward. Just over 6 inches was measured in parts of Illinois and southern Michigan. Most areas of the Northeast saw just a few inches of snow, mainly on grassy surfaces. However, a few locations in northern Pennsylvania, south-central New York and western Massachusetts reported over 6 inches of snowfall. Providence, Rhode Island, experienced its third biggest snowfall on record for this late in the season when 1.2 inches of snow was measured on April 18. Worcester, Massachusetts, picked up 5.1 inches, making it the fifth biggest snowfall this late in the season. Sadie dissipated on April 18, ending the season.

Storm names

The storm names for the 2019-20 season were released on October 3, 2019. All names on this list have appeared for the first time, except for Wyatt, which was on the 2016-17 list, but was never used.

  • Aubrey
  • Bessie
  • Caleb
  • Dorothy
  • Ezekiel
  • Finley
  • Gage
  • Henry
  • Isaiah
  • Jacob
  • Kade
  • Lamont
  • Mabel
  • Nash
  • Odell
  • Pearl
  • Quincy
  • Ruth
  • Sadie
  • Thatcher (unused)
  • Upton (unused)
  • Veronica (unused)
  • Wyatt (unused)
  • Xandra (unused)
  • Yates (unused)
  • Zachariah (unused)

Season effects

NameDurationTop snowfallPts.CategoryDamagesFatalities
AubreyOctober 8-12, 201930 in.49 pts“Moderate”Unknown1
BessieOct. 28 – Nov. 1, 20198 in.45 pts“Minor”Minimal0
CalebNovember 10-13, 201922 in.56 pts“Moderate”Unknown4
DorothyNovember 24-28, 201940.5 in.65 pts“Severe”Unknown0
EzekielNov. 26 – Dec. 3, 201949 in.111 pts“Extreme”Significant12
FinleyDecember 15-17, 201943.5 in.81 pts“Powerful”Significant15
GageDecember 27, 2019 – January 1, 202036 in.61 pts“Severe”Minimal3
HenryDecember 31, 2019 – January 2, 202046 in.52 pts“Moderate”Unknown2
IsaiahJanuary 10-12, 20204 in.38 pts“Minor”$1.1 billion0
JacobJanuary 15-18, 202026 in.72 pts“Severe”Unknown0
KadeFebruary 2-7, 202023.5 in.71 pts“Severe”Unknown0
LamontFebruary 8-10, 202012.6 in.16 pts“Weak”Unknown0
MabelFebruary 9-13, 202011.9 in.45 pts“Minor”Unknown0
NashFebruary 19-21, 20208 in.14 pts“Weak”Unknown0
OdellFebruary 23-27, 202031 in.54 pts“Moderate”Unknown0
PearlMarch 16-19, 202023 in.39 pts“Minor”Unknown0
QuincyMarch 22-23, 202012 in.25 pts“Weak”Unknown0
RuthApril 11-13, 20208 in.30 pts“Weak”Unknown0
SadieApril 16-18, 202030.3 in.37 pts“Minor”Unknown0

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