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Winter Storm Hits 30 States

Fiorella Beccaglia Managing Editor


The winter storm that barreled across the United States from Cedar Grove, California, where it dropped 49 inches of snow, to Ogunquit, Maine, which saw more than a foot, was finally departing on Tuesday, Dec. 3, but not before giving New England one last hit. Having come ashore from the Pacific a week ago as a “bomb cyclone,” the storm dropped at least four inches of snow in 30 states. Its mix of cold, wind, snow, sleet and rain shuttered schools, blocked hundreds of miles of highways, and delayed many flights.

Bob Oravec, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, described the storm as “very long- lasting” in an interview with the New York Times, and said it was rare for a storm to have that kind of staying power.

So how did the storm maintain its strength over such a long time and distance? As with other storms, the flows of heavy to light snowfall associated with this one was predominantly dictated by topography (the arrangement of the natural and artificial physical features of an area), Mr. Oravec said. High elevations like in the Rocky Mountains, force air to rise, which causes more precipitation. Bodies of water, like lakes, also enhance snow storms. “They’ll weaken. They’ll strengthen,” Mr. Oravec said of the storms. “Storms will go through cycles. That’s why you’ll see, at times, variations in the amount of snow.” The storm intensified over the Pacific, then hit coastal regions of Oregon and Northern California on Nov. 26, transforming into a “bomb cyclone” — in meteorological terms, a storm in which pressure drops by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours — with winds reaching up to 106 m.p.h. The Cascades and northern Sierras were covered with heavy snow, major highways were closed and residents across a wide area lost power.

In Connecticut, North Granby in Hartford County had the highest snowfall total, according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Although many schools and colleges cancelled classes, a change in the track of the storm, caused warm air to creep into most of Connecticut. Along the Long Island Sound shoreline, nearly an inch of snow was recorded in some locations.

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