Blizzard warnings cancelled; 3 strikes dooms big accumulations

While most of the area saw some snow and strong winds winds, the long anticipated blizzard that was anticipated didn't occur.

The National Weather Service said that the storm system was not as severe in the Nebraska Panhandle as earlier thought. and it comes down to three reasons.

Shawn Liebl, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, said that the storm system was slower to organize, formed a little further south than expected, and had less moisture to work with, therefore leading to lower snow totals.

Liebl said that thunderstorms formed in western Kansas Saturday evening and basically "robbed the area of the moisture needed" to produce widespread heavy snow in the Panhandle. The lack of moisture meant total snowfall accumulations of 1 to 4 inches across the Panhandle, instead of the 4 to 8 inches originally expected.

Liebl said this storm shows that forecasting remains an inexact science, which is frustrating for the public and forecasters alike. Liebl said that more research is being used into forecast models, but even with modern technologies, there is not of perfect understanding of the atmosphere.

Liebl added that forecasting storms in our area is especially difficult because storms develop when moving into or off of the Rockies. Therefore, forecasters don't have the opportunity to see the storm before they are forecasting its location. In addition, moisture availability is a big problem, as occasionally, the gulf moisture doesn't make it all the way to western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming as the models would indicate.

Areas just east of the Panhandle, from North Platte to Ogallala are still expected to experience blizzard conditions.

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