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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

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Will remaining winter months be kind?

January 25, 2021 | Jason Kuiper | tips, weather
winter forecast

As the last few weeks have shown us, winter isn’t messing around this year. Piles of snow and arctic temps have been the norm this month. But what about the remaining weeks of winter?

Forecasters with DTN, which provides OPPD and other energy companies with weather forecasts, predicted a weak La Nina for this winter. For the remaining months of the season, there are chances for more snowstorms. Forecasters also expect there will be some very cold days ahead.

Lingering

Typically, the second half of Nebraska winters are always the worst part of the season. Arctic cold stretches for days in February and a winter season acts much like an unwanted house guest: it never wants to leave when we are ready for them to go.

This winter, the forecast for the area calls for about average precipitation and chances for some days of intense cold next month, though those are expected to be brief.

Wintry mix

Winter is one quirky season. Here is a look at some of the oddities and weather terms that make up this coldest season.

What makes a blizzard a blizzard?

For one, it doesn’t have to necessarily be snowing to have a blizzard. Blizzards do need sustained, blowing winds of 35 mph or more, with less than a quarter-mile visibility for three hours or more. A “ground blizzard” is a blizzard that results from snow that has previously fallen.

“Sneaky” winter hazards

Winter driving can often be troublesome. Here are some of the lesser-known hazards drivers face.

  • Sun glare – the low sun angle during prime commuting times in winter can cause hazardous driving conditions. The car visor and sunglasses are two ways to stay safe, along with leaving plenty of space between you and other vehicles. And as always, avoid being a distracted driver. That means no texting, fiddling with the radio or anything else that can take your full focus off the task of driving.
  • Rain with near-freezing temperatures – Ice can form on roads and lead to dangerous driving conditions once the road surface temperatures drops below freezing.
  • Rain after a long dry stretch – this one isn’t just limited to winter. It can occur any time after there hasn’t been rain. Oil and debris accumulate on the road when it hasn’t rained for a while. When it first starts to rain, the road becomes slick. It’s best to slow down and avoid using cruise control.
  • Flash freeze – Wet roads can freeze quickly at night or when there is a rapid drop in temperature behind a cold front. Again, slow down and avoid using cruise control.
  • Freezing drizzle – The fine layer of ice that forms during freezing drizzle may be hard to notice, but it is one of winter’s most dangerous types of weather. Plus it can be hard to keep the windshield clear when freezing drizzle happens.

What’s the difference between a frost warning and a frost advisory?

A frost warning is issued when forecasts call for temperatures of 32 degrees or colder for several hours over a widespread area during growing season. An advisory is issued when forecasts call for temperatures of 33 to 36 degrees with clear skies and light winds over a widespread area.

Thundersnow?

It is not a myth, it is very real. And it is just what it sounds like: thunder. When it is snowing.

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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

View all posts by Jason Kuiper >

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