On Sunday an arctic high pressure area dipped southward to Virginia, while another arctic covered the northern Great Plains and upper Midwest, with a high of 1 degree at Glasgow, Montana, 1 below zero at International Falls and 8 degrees at Minneapolis.
Bitterly cold and extremely dry air was in place during the morning in our area, and the low was 10 degrees below zero at our weather station in Otego. Skies were sunny all morning, then high cloudiness took over in the early afternoon; highs in the upper teens.
On the southern fringe of the arctic high centered over the Dakotas on Monday, milder air well ahead of a storm system in western Colorado, lifted up and over the very cold air at the surface.
This combination led to a major ice storm from the Texas Panhandle through Oklahoma, northern Arkansas, southern Missouri, western Kentucky, and southern Illinois. It was no coincidence that in Otsego County it was the first completely sunny day since New Year’s Day. With extremely dry air and light winds, the low was 10 below zero for the second day at our weather station in Otego, then a high of 20 degrees. Mark Hanok is an Otegobased meteorologist.