AN ACTIVE U.S. WEATHER PATTERN IS IN PLACE:

SEASON’S FIRST MAJOR SNOWSTORM/BLIZZARD ROARING INTO NORTHERN PLAINS & NORTHERN MINNESOTA WHILE FARTHER SOUTH, TROP STORM “NICOLE” FLIRTS WITH “HURRICANE” STRENGTH AND SENDS WIND, RAIN AND HEAVY, BEACH ERODING SEAS INTO FLORIDA NORTHWARD INTO THE CAROLINAS

A blizzard is headed for the northern Plains into northern Minnesota–a storm which could dump more than a foot of snow amid 40+ mph winds. The same system has left 3 ft. of snow in portions of California’s Sierra and whitened a wide swath of the northern and central Rockies while producing powerful winds.

SEE THE GRAPHICS I’ve posted below.

ON THE WARM SIDE OF THE LEDGER:
Tropical Storm”Nicole” sweeps toward Florida, eastern sections of which are under HURRICANE WARNINGS. The system is to cross the peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico then turn north and trek through the Eastern U.S. generating drenching rains.The storm, currently a top-tier Tropical Storm with its 70 mph sustained winds–just 4 mph from hurricane status–is to be only the second landfalling November hurricane in Florida since 1843. And Steve Bowen, meteorologist and Chief Science Officer at insurance giant Gallagher Re, says, based on his analysis, “Nicole” is likely to rank the 4th strongest tropical system to landfall in the U.S. in the November/December time frame.

Nicole’s storm surge has already closed some stretches of coastal roads and winds have gusted nearly nearly 60 mph already sending a roaring surf into a wide swath of the Southeast, from the Carolinas south to Florida.

The storm may reach minimal hurricane strength (74 mph sustained winds) before making landfall–but its high tides and seas extend beyond the Sunshine State. Nicole’s powerful easterly wind field is far reaching because of the huge air pressure variation which sets the winds in motion between Nicole and a huge high pressure draped from New England and the Mid-Atlantic out over the western Atlantic.

HERE IS THE LATEST ADVISORY FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER:

ALSO CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING:
#1. Animated satellite imagery-true color courtesy of College of DuPage (click the arrow at the bottom to get the animation going)

#2. Color enhanced satellite animation courtesy of NOAA

#3. 12-hour NWS weather radar animation courtesy of the Rosenstiel School’s Brian McNoldy