This Week's Projected Snowstorm Lands on the Anniversary of the Snowstorm of '65 - February 25th, 1965 - A Storm That Started My Facination With Snowstorms

As mentioned yesterday, tomorrow we'll update the current expected major storm with the latest 12z guidance (Feb 23rd, 2016 -7AM EST) and adjust expected storm affects on the region by mid afternoon.

Below; we'll compare our present day storm with the storm that started it all for me as far as a fascination with snowstorms and thus, increased my desire to study weather. It ironically, occurred on the same date as our expected storm this week - The anniversary of Snowstorm of February 24-25th 1965! Just passing it's 50th anniversary last year, I remember the day well.

The best part, besides obviously the snowstorm ,was being off two days from school. In fact; those two days, February 25-26th 1965 were the only two days back in the old days (well before kids started to get off of school for anything weather related) that I ever was let off of school in grade or high school. I went to a Catholic grade school in northwest Detroit /St. Monica/ and high school /Bishop Borgess/ therefore; getting let out of school because of a snowstorm was rarely heard of anyway.

Anyway; on the morning of the 25th, which my memory recollected was a Thursday (and checking back on my computer verifies this) we were awaken to a heavy snow cover along with drifts I had never seen in the Detroit metro area growing up my 10 years previously. Snowfalls varied across the metro Detroit area but most were with a few inches of a foot. Officially in the far northwest part of Detroit, I measured a foot in several places around the house. Besides the heavy snow cover were the moderately strong, gusty winds which built drifts in the city lots/yards to up to 2 1/2-3 feet in places from my memory.

Let's take a look at new items from that memorable day for many...

SNOWSTORM Feb 24-25TH 1965

There are close similarities in the expected modeled storm this week, 51 years later and the actual Snowstorm of February 24-25, 1965.  Besides the obvious dates; ironically the Storm of '65 in its infancy was also a Gulf Low that developed in the same region as the models are predicting this weeks storm development on Wednesday, the 24th. The  storm development is expected down over the Louisiana/Gulf Region. The upper air appears very similar as does the surface low development and movement. One major difference with this week's weather is the milder temperatures expected ahead of/and during the storm which could obviously cut down on snowfall amounts. This especially will be noted where rain or rain mixed with snow falls

From the Toledo Blade, which gives a fairly thorough synopsis of the Feb 24-25th, 1965 storm...

"This could be called the "Midwest/Ohio Valley Snowstorm of 1965" 7.8" at Toledo, 11" at Detroit, 12.9" at Flint, 9" at Jackson MI, 10.3 " at Lansing, 17.9" at Saginaw, 7.5" at Grand Rapids, 12.7" at South Bend, 7.5" at Fort Wayne, 12.5" at Indianapolis, 10" at Chicago, 7.6" at Peru IN, 9.8" at Lafayette, 8.4" at Evansville, 6" Bowling Green KY, 3" Cincinnati, 7" Paducah."

"The surface low tracked from Louisiana to Cincinnati to north of Pittsburgh to north of Montreal. The rain-snow line was near a Toledo to Indianapolis line. It was a strongly deepening low from around 1002mb to 983mb in 24 hours, to 976mb in 30 hours.

It was 12 degrees and windy at Toledo after the storm ended. It is interesting to note this situation was along with a strong Greenland block but the upper level flow off the East Coast did not allow a coastal low to develop. This was a definite problem for transportation in Toledo, according to the Toledo Blade. It was also the largest single-storm total snowstorm at Toledo in the previous 14 years, according to the Toledo Blade."

500 MB Heights 


Detroit after the '65 Storm


Making weather fun while we all learn,
Bill Deedler -SEMI_WeatherHistorian

Previous blog 2/22/16

Major Late Winter Storm Likely to Impact Southeast Lower Michigan With Strong Winds and Heavy Snow!

After several days on various tracks of the possible impending storm, better sampling of the atmosphere is indicating very strong dynamic system with copious moisture will affect the region. A more definitive track is beginning to emerge even though this system is still a good few days away, it appears all models have a better handle on the outcome now.

Still; the exact track of the storm/low will have a major impact of snowfalls across Southeast Lower Michigan and Lower Michigan, as a whole. Along with the crucial track of the low determining snowfalls will be the existing relatively mild temperatures ahead and during the early stages of the storm on Wednesday when rain, mixed rain and snow is expected. All precipitation is expected to change over to all snow by Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

At this early juncture; snowfalls of 3 - 5" are likely across the mildest areas of Southeast Michigan over the Southeast corner Lower Michigan. Areas away from the Southeast corner; which includes much of the Metro Detroit Area west into Ann Arbor, Brighton, Howell, Flint and areas west and north where general snowfalls of 5"- 9" (highest amounts will be further away from the Southeast Lower Michigan corner where isolated higher snow amounts are possible). Besides of snow of course, will be the very strong northeast winds of 20 - 30 mph with gusts near 40 will cause problems with power and tree limbs along with the heavy snow.

This storm has more of a Gulf Low characteristic which generally contain the best moisture access along with a very strong southern jet streak in the upper atmosphere; classic of the deeper, more intense low pressure. It has been awhile since a true Gulf Low has affected the Lower Great Lakes and in fact, much of the country as most storms on the East Coast this winter have been Coastal Storm development with impulses originating from the West or Northwest. We saw numerous cousins of the Gulf Low over the Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas region during the severe winter of 2013-14 and late last winter.

All indication are the storm will take shape over Southeast Texas/Louisianan/Gulf of Mexico as an intense subtropical jet streak containing impressive winds of 120-130 knots at the higher levels of the atmosphere /250-300 MB, or 33Kft-35Kft/ and strong horizontal and vertical velocities. It's certainly without question; the most impressive low pressure/storm center projected to affect the region in this benign winter season, anyway!

Next will take a look at specific upper winds and storm tracks of the 12Z/022316 models along with and a little Weather Historian history.  Look for updates during the next few days on this impending storm!

Making weather fun while we all learn,
Bill Deedler -SEMI_WeatherHistorian

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