2022 finished with a challenging winter storm

Regina Bird

As we put a bow on 2022, it was an eventful year in weather. Even in the past month, there were many events that kept meteorologists busy.

With our focus on December, the Plains saw a bit of everything from severe weather to blizzards. Extreme cold also spread across the area for part of the month.

Winter storms brought blizzard conditions at times during December. The system from Dec. 12 to 16 brought prolonged impacts from the northern Plains into Nebraska. Roads were closed for days as snow and winds continued to cut off travel options with large drifts. The snow continued to pile up as the wind howled at 60 miles per hour or stronger. The National Weather Service in South Dakota said around 4 feet of snow was measured around Cheyenne Crossing and Lead and Deadwood areas with around 3 feet of snow near Spearfish and Sturgis. The heavy snow extended south into Nebraska with 2 feet reported near Chadron.

Later in the month, another winter storm took aim at the Plains with not as much snow, but still many impacts with the combination of snow, wind and dangerous cold.

Specific global conditions continue to show ongoing La Nina. La Nina looks likely for the near term, before a transition into ENSO-Neutral by late winter or early spring.

The outlook for January also reflects what would be expected with La Nina in terms of precipitation. This means below average precipitation for the southern Plains with the northern Plains on the opposite end of above average precipitation for the month. The area of below average precipitation will likely stretch a bit farther north into the southern half of Kansas for January.

Precipitation through March looks like much of the same with more of Kansas and even the western half of Nebraska likely to see numbers fall below seasonal norms for precipitation.

For January temperatures, a lot of Texas and southern Oklahoma are forecast to see them above average.

This continues for the southern half of Texas the next three months.

I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for February’s update.

Editor’s note: Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. Following high school, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. She currently works as a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX