It is the beginning of the year, and already we have had our first notable severe weather outbreak. With the strong storms pounding the west, it was only a matter of time before the cold air wrought havoc when making contact with the more sultry air east of the Rockies.
Tornadoes left a path of damage in Alabama and Georgia over the weekend, including a tornado that led to the deaths of at least 6 west of Montgomery. The strong areas of low pressure have drawn unstable air as north as Iowa, where the first January tornado was reported there since 1986. Now, a strong storm is expected to leave a foot of snow in the northern High Plains.
It will be the tornado that struck Selma, Alabama that will be remembered the most out of this town, striking a town so closely associated with the Civil Rights Movement on the weekend that celebrates one its greatest champions, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The tornado went through the heart of the city, just north of the down town area and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, damaging homes, churches and businesses throughout the city. StormChasingVideo provides a look at the city and nearby Autauga in the aftermath of the tornado.
As long as cold air resides in the west, feeding into much warmer air east of the Rockies, there will be a threat that storm systems could amplify quickly and dangerously. The snow storm in the Dakotas and Nebraska today will ultimately lead to an additional threat for severe weather in the Mississippi Valley later the is week. The long term outlook, for a cold wet west indicates an active winter in the south as well.