A busy weather week before a quiet Christmas week

There were two remarkable weather stories this week, one for the raw statistics, and one for the incredible imagery.

Last weekend, a strong late season storm swept through the Lower Mississippi Valley, unleashing a tornado outbreak from Louisiana to Alabama that was unusual for mid-December, but not altogether unheard of.

Mississippi was struck by nearly a dozen twisters, while two people were killed in northern Alabama. The most eye-popping number from the outbreak was the 64 mile tornado track in central Louisiana. The largest town clipped by this tornado was Alexandria, where there was extensive damage, but no deaths. There was one storm related fatality in Louisiana, however.

Take a look at the map the Jackson WFO put out, showing the tornado coverage there (unfortunately, there isn’t a good map that I’ve seen from Louisiana or Alabama with the tornado tracks), and find more details from NPR on the storm.

Also in the last week, a virulent but quick moving system brought a profundity of snow squall warnings through the mid-Atlantic and southern New England. Snow squall warnings are equivalent to severe thunderstorms, inasmuch as they move quickly, and bring about strong if short lived winds, even if they don’t bring a lot of accumulation.

Check out this clip of the storm consuming Manhattan

This all lead to very good news for Christmas travelers, however. The holiday week was fairly benign, unless you were trying to traverse the northern Rockies, where snow was falling. Throughout the Upper Midwest, temperatures climbed well above normal, and melted away the white Christmas millions of people were expecting.

The year looks to conclude with a bang, however, as a significant system will bring snow to the northern High Plains this weekend, as well s another chance for severe weather in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

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