The December 2017 North American Blizzard was a major historic blizzard that impacted the United States coast to coast. The storm had widespread affects with up to 4 1/2 feet of snow falling in the hardest hit areas. The storm originated in the Gulf of Alaska on December 7 and tracked off the West Coast, into the Southwest and Northern Mexico before reaching the Southeast on December 11. The system tracked northeastwards before merging with another system on December 13. The system underwent bombogenesis producing heavy snow bands in the Northeast. In California and the Southeast this was one of the biggest storms ever recorded and was one of the four major snowstorms to strike during the 2017-18 winter.

Meteorological History Edit

On December 7, an area of low pressure developed in the Gulf of Alaska. Fueled by various currents with heavy moisture, the system immediately intensified and underwent bombogenesis, with the central pressure dropping to 977 millibars while located about 200 miles off the coast of Oregon on December 8. The NWS scarcely had time to issued storm summaries. This produced heavy rainfall, storm surges, and mountain snow throughout the Pacific Northwest. Flash flooding occurred in many coastal towns. Storm surges in Seattle produced waves in excess of 10 feet, and I-90 was closed over Snoqualmie Pass due to blizzard conditions. Afterward, the storm system brought a cold/warm front in place over Southern Oregon, while it tracked off the coast of California. This produced rare major snowfall in places like Stockton which picked up 6.2 inches. This was also Sacramento's biggest snowstorm on record with 5.2 inches recorded in Downtown. Heavy snowfall also occurred in the Foothills of and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Snowfall peaked at 31.4 inches in Truckee, also its biggest snowstorm on record. As a result many mountain passes were shut down, including I-80 over Donner Pass. The storm system weakened and moved inland on December 10. During that time, the storm system bought rain and light snowfall to Northwestern Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico. Phoenix received a record rainfall of 4.12 inches during a 12-hour period. No records were broken in Albuquerque and Flagstaff, but they did receive good snow accumulations of 3.3 and 5.1 inches respectively. The storm system began to intensify again when moisture coming in from the southwest fringed with the remaining system while it was located over Chihuahua, Mexico. That day, the storm system moved across South Texas and into the Gulf of Mexico. This caused moderate snow bands to fall in the Southern Plains and in Texas. Dallas picked up 8.1 inches of snow from the storm. Meanwhile a secondary weak area of low pressure originated in the Central Rockies and tracked southeastwards through the Midwest, produced light rain and snow in the Northern Plains. On December 12, the two systems began to fringe with each other while the southern system was still located over the Gulf while the northern system was tracking through the Tennessee Valley. This caused light ice and snow to fall throughout the the Southeast, while the northern system began to slowly absorb, the southern system's energy. On December 14, the northern system completely absorbed the southern system while located off the coast of North Carolina. The system then underwent bombogenesis once again and transforming into a nor'easter. Heavy snow fell in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. The central pressure continued to drop even after it left the coast behind on December 15. The system achieved it's peak intensity while located off the Faroe Islands on December 18 with a central pressure of 938 millibars and hurricane force winds of 80 mph. During the next two days, the storm system began to weaken as it curved through the Norwegian and Greenland Seas toward the North Pole before being absorbed by a larger system on December 20.

California Snow Totals Edit

Sacramento: 5.2 inches

Stockton: 6.2 inches

Auburn: 10.7 inches

Placerville: 11.8 inches

Jackson: 15.0 inches

Modesto: 5.4 inches

San Andreas: 15.9 inches

Sonora: 20.1 inches

Mariposa: 12.0 inches

Nevada City: 18.4 inches

Marysville: 4.5 inches

Yuba City: 4.3 inches

Fairfield: 6.1 inches

San Luis Obispo: 0.5 inches

Salinas: 2.2 inches

Santa Cruz: 0.2 inches

San Jose: 3.1 inches

San Francisco: 1.7 inches

Oakland: 3.3 inches

San Rafael: 2.7 inches

Santa Rosa: 3.2 inches

Ukiah: 3.7 inches

Eureka: 1.5 inches

Redding: 6.1 inches

Yreka: 16.1 inches

Willows: 3.0 inches

Oroville: 5.0 inches

Chico: 2.1 inches

Red Bluff: 1.1 inches

Quincy: 17.0 inches

Fresno: 3.8 inches

Independence: 18.1 inches

Markleeville: 24.2 inches

Bridgeport: 18.0 inches

Bakersfield: 1.0 inch

Tulare: 2.1 inches

Madera: 4.3 inches

Merced: 4.8 inches

Hanford: 2.7 inches

Martinez: 6.2 inches