I have talked about “bright banding” in the past. It is the phenomenon in which snow forms striations on radar, with the brighter returns indicating elongated bands of heavy snowfall. Given the movement patterns of snow storms, these bands tend to linger and usually result in the locations that receive the most snow in a region’s snow event.
What happens, then, if there is only one band of snow in a withering area of low pressure, and it sets up in an area that is otherwise snow free? What this bright band would do is something like what happened earlier this week in Kansas, with a system that moved through the mid-Mississippi Valley, and ultimately became a blizzard in western New York and eastern Canada.
Here is the satellite edition:
And this is what it looks like from a little closer to the ground.
In the end, the snow band was less than 20 miles wide, but in some places more than a foot deep, and came down at a pace that required the closing of I-70 in northern Kansas. Certainly bad luck for the very few people that saw all the snow, but at least they didn’t need to go far to get out of it.