Coast-To-Coast Snowstorm Fells Records; First Blizzard Warning Issued In Los Angeles Since 1989; Special Weather Alerts In Canada; 13+ Feet Of Snow Hits Sochi, Russia; + Europe To Freeze

Coast-To-Coast Snowstorm Fells Records

A nation-spanning wintry storm is already felling records across the United States.

According to NWS data, the 4.5 inches of snow that settled at Bismarck Airport Tuesday busted the city’s Feb 21 record of 3.2 inches, set just last year. Another 4 inches is forecast into Thursday with blowing/drifting snow likely. These are totals that will push the city north of 60 inches for the season — 27 inches above normal.

Conditions are even worse in southeast North Dakota, where a blizzard warning is in effect through midday Thursday. No travel is advised here, with Interstate 94 between Bismark and Fargo and the I-29 between Fargo and South Dakota closed.

Subzero temperatures were posted Wednesday, with a warning of wind chills in the -30s and -40s (F) into early Friday.

The winter storm is stretching coast-to-coast, with watches and/or warnings in place from New York through the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wyoming, from Texas to Montana, and throughout California (see below). That’s some 20 states in total, with a whopping 24 million people under a blizzard/winter storm warning.

“Winter is back with a vengeance,” say AccuWeather.

GFS 2m Temperature Anomalies (C) Feb 22 – Feb 24 [].

And looking further ahead, March isn’t looking much better:

GFS 2m Temperature Anomalies (C) March 4 [].

First Blizzard Warning Issued In Los Angeles Since 1989

A exceptionally rare Blizzard Warning, only the second in history, has been issued for Los Angeles and the wider Southern California area.

“Your eyes are not deceiving you,” said FOX Weather meteorologist Britta Merwin. “All the way down in Southern California, that orange box is a Blizzard Warning that’s in effect for Friday morning until 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.”

Rare low-elevation snow map.
A rare Blizzard Warning issued for parts of Southern California.

The National Weather Service in Los Angeles had called this their ‘first Blizzard Warning on record’; however, one from 1989 has subsequently been unearthed, issued after reports came in.

The mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties are expecting another 5 feet of snow starting Thursday and extending through the weekend — this after the impacts of the coast-to-coast storm that pounded the Golden State earlier in the week.

This impressive outbreak of cold will lead to the shattering of many a temperature record, as well as a significant lowering of the snow levels. 

While snow above 3,000 feet is fairly common, snow levels for this event could drop below 1,000 feet, and maybe even below 500 feet in some places, which would lead rare flurries in places such as the North Bay Mountains, Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range in the San Francisco Area.

A foot of snow will comfortably clip elevations above 3,000 feet, with the Sierra Nevada forecast 4+ feet.

GFS Total Snowfall (cm) Feb 23 – March 11 [].

Special Weather Alerts In Canada

The cold is fiercest above the northern border, with Canada reeling under a host of ‘special weather alerts’.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has issued two special weather alerts in Prince George alone where wind chills of -40C (-40F) are expected, giving a risk of hypothermia and frostbite.

Another massive serving of snow is also on the cards for PG with a foot potentially accumulating for the second time this week: “This weekend another 20-30 centimeters would break another record — if that does pan out,” said Meteorologist Derek Lee.

ECCC has also issued an extreme cold warning for Airdrie and the surrounding areas: “Extremely cold wind chill values of -40C” are forecast here into Thursday morning, and “the extreme cold will continue through the week,” the warning stated.

If Airdrie dips below -32.2C (26F) on Thursday, as is almost guaranteed with predictions calling for -37C (-34.6F), then a new low temperature record would be set, breaking the previous which has stood for 134 years, since 1889.

Environment and ‘Global Warming’ Canada warns that this ‘fierce freeze’ poses a greater risk for young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter: “Watch for cold-related symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes.”

13+ Feet Of Snow Hits Sochi, Russia

This week, feet of snow has pounded the mountains of Sochi.

As reported by, snow totals climbed to 80 cm (2.6 ft) in Krasnaya Polyana and a well-over 4 m (13 ft) across the highlands.

Avalanche warnings are in place over the mountains of Krasnodar Territory and Adygean above 1000 m (3,280 ft), with 500 m (1,640 ft) proving dangerous across the higher elevations of Sochi.

Passes, roads and highways have already been blocked by avalanches–with an iron bridge taken out in Sochi:

Moscow has seen daily highs of -13C (8.6F), which are some 10C below the multidecadal norm.

Europe To Freeze

And just a quick word on Europe’s looming Arctic Outbreak…

This week is looking frosty–particularly for the West where heavy snow is on the cards for Spain and Portugal; but come early-March, the atmosphere is threatening to deliver something truly Baltic, tied to the SSW event we’ve been watching, and which could seriously hamper the continent’s spring planting efforts.

All eyes on this descending mass of polar cold:

GFS 2m Temperature Anomalies (C) March 4 – March 11 [].
GFS Total Snowfall (cm) Feb 23 – March 11 [].