Rare snowstorm hits Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on December 12, 2008

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A rare early December heavy snowstorm hit Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi yesterday, setting several records. It was the earliest measurable snowfall in recorded history at Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Lake Charles. Also, this snow event set the all time record snowfall amounts for the month of December at Beaumont, Port Arthur, Lake Charles, Lafayette, and New Iberia, and was the first measurable snowfall in recorded history for the month of December at Lafayette. In Mississippi, up to 5 inches of snow fell on areas south of Jackson. The snow knocked out power to 83,000 and caused numerous traffic accidents and road closures across Southeast Louisiana. The snow was caused by an upper-level low pressure system that deepened over the Gulf of Mexico. The snow was unusual because it occurred when the surface temperatures were 32 to 35 degrees.

The one inch of snow reported in New Orleans was that city's earliest snow on record. The previous earliest date for measurable snowfall in New Orleans was Dec. 22, 1989. New Orleans' last snowfall, in 2004, was a dusting. The record snowfall for the city is about 5 inches, recorded Dec. 30, 1963.


Figure 1. Yesterday's snowstorm brought a festive blanket of white to Magee, Mississippi. Image credit: SouthernLady.

A few selected snow amounts from yesterday's storm:

Louisiana
-------------
Amite 8.0 inches
rossroads 6.0 inches
Hammond 6.0 inches
Mount Herman 6.0 inches
Opelousas 6.0 inches
Washington 6.0 inches
Covington 6.0 inches
Baton Rouge 3.0 inches
Plaquemine 2.5 inches
New Orleans 1.0 inches
Lafayette 1.0 inches
New Iberia 0.8 inches
NWS Lake Charles 0.4 inches

Mississippi
---------------
Columbia 5.0 inches
Jayess 5.0 inches
Brookhaven 5.0 inches
Prentiss 4.0 inches

Texas
--------
Lumberton 4.0 inches
West Beaumont 4.0 inches
Woodville 3.0 inches
Beaumont City 2.5 inches
SE TX regional Arpt 1.8 inches
Orange 1.0 inches
Port Neches 1.0 inches
Jasper 0.5 inches

So what happened to global warming?
Record snow events inevitably bring comments like, "so what happened to global warming?" First of all, no single weather event can prove or disprove the existence of climate change or global warming. One needs to look at the entire globe over a period of decades to evaluate whether or not climate change is occurring. It might be instructive to look at what global snow cover is doing this season (it's about 10% below average, Figure 2), but this doesn't mean global warming is occurring. This year's reduced snow cover could be due to natural seasonal variations. Only global average temperatures, when viewed over a time scale of decades, can prove or disprove the existence of global warming. Global average temperatures, when averaged over a decades-long period that removes the "bumps" associated with natural seasonal weather fluctuations, show that global warming is occurring.

Secondly, as both myself and wunderground climate change expert Dr. Ricky Rood have pointed out, global warming won't necessarily lead to a decrease in snowfall in all regions. If it is cold enough to snow, we may actually see increased snow in many locations. Global warming puts more moisture in the atmosphere, due to fact that higher global temperatures evaporate more moisture off of the oceans. I expect that coming decades will bring many record snowfalls, due to the increased moisture available in the atmosphere.


Figure 2. Northern Hemisphere snow cover on December 9, 2008 (blue areas) compared to average (green line). Northern Hemisphere snow cover was about 10% below average the first week of December. Since October, Northern Hemisphere snow cover has been about 5% below average. Bob Hart at Florida State has put together a nice set of regularly updating images showing the current state of global snow cover.

Subtropical Storm Rene possible in the Atlantic next week
The trough of low pressure that brought snow to the deep south will track eastward over the Atlantic over the next few days, reaching the central Atlantic north of the Lesser Antilles Islands by Monday. On Monday or Tuesday, the computer models unanimously agree that the southern portion of the trough will pinch off and form a "cut-off low"--an extratropical storm that is cut off from the jet stream. This low is expected to track slowly westward to a point midway between Bermuda and Puerto Rico by late next week. The low will be over waters marginally warm enough--25°C--to support formation of a subtropical storm, and phase space diagrams from Florida State indicate that this storm will be warm-cored. Wind shear is forecast to be low enough to allow a subtropical or tropical storm to form, and I give a medium (20-50% chance) that we will see Subropical Storm Rene in the Atlantic next week.

Jeff Masters

Snow in Metairie, LA (saintsfan06)
Levee in Metairie
Snow in Metairie, LA
New Orleans Snow Storm (locust)
New Orleans Snow Storm
Snowing in South Ms! (dwmckenzie)
Snowing in South Ms!
Texas Snow (sdmanis)
Pearland Texas Snow on my car
Texas Snow

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West Pacific.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30490
Drakoen - wheres that photo from?



#1 tornado & weather links, all on one site!
www.tornadolinks.com

WWW.TORNADOLINKS.COM
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Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30490
232. JRRP
Link
CMC
Link
UKM
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Quoting Cotillion:


I bet Parcells has something to do with it.


ROFLMAO
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Fantastic week ahead for south florida as a pretty significant ridge will keep the jet locked up north keeping any kind of shower activity/cold weather away from the state.

Give me 80's.
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229. IKE
Quoting hurricane23:


Maybe next year?


Maybe by Wednesday.....

12Z GFS @ 78 hours....

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Quoting KoritheMan:


Because there isn't anything imminent in the tropics. THe potential Rene isn't going to be here for like another week.


Maybe next year?
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Quoting all4hurricanes:
Link
Dolphin got it's act on in the past hour


I bet Parcells has something to do with it.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Dolphin's quickly oranizing! Models predicting a possible storm forming in the Atlantic. Some crazy weather in store for S. Ontario with sharp rises and falls in temperature so we could see some ice this week.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
225. IKE
12Z NAM
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Link
Dolphin got it's act on in the past hour
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2372
Dr. Masters, i'm sure you will be posting many articles defending the global warming theory over the next few years.. as natural cycles disrupt the warming period. Interesting thought..
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Portugal has also been hit by anormal November & December snowfalls. This weekend more snow fell, closing high mountain roads.
Ecotretas
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Good Morning
38F in ILM
Wind N at 7
Clear skies
Forecast is for Partly cloudy and 58
Not bad for Early December!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3002
220. IKE
Low shear out in the Atlantic where Rene may form....

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219. JRRP
Link
CMC
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218. JRRP
Link
UKM
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Quoting KoritheMan:


At least Sean isn't almost exactly reminiscent of Stan, like Rina and Katia are with Rita and Katrina.


vocally, yes youre right. reading-wise theyre very similar
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Quoting hurristat:


and stan with sean...woot 1 letter changes


At least Sean isn't almost exactly reminiscent of Stan, like Rina and Katia are with Rita and Katrina.
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Quoting HurrikanEB:


i think its odd that for 2011 they replaced katrina with Katia and
rita with rina


and stan with sean...woot 1 letter changes
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Quoting HurrikanEB:
is Rene pronounced Ren-A or Ree-nee


Ra-Nay
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
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Quoting hurricanemaniac123:
No posts in over an hour...


Because there isn't anything imminent in the tropics. THe potential Rene isn't going to be here for like another week.
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No posts in over an hour...
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Quoting zoomiami:
Baha - those are some great pictures.
Thanks. I've been meaning to post them for a while. . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
Baha - those are some great pictures.
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FYI everyone, my QUITEST YEAR CONTEST is still going on at my blog!

3 people are on it so far, and it is over on December 31st!
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Hey Aussie,

How's the summer coming? Has BoM done any kind of seasonal forecast so far?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
Just looking at the GFS models and it looks like in about 48-54 hours time the UK will start to feel the effects of a strong artic low and in about 12-24 hours the USA will start to feel the effects of a strong polar blast moving down toward the GOM. Cheers AussieStorm
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Here are some pictures I just uploaded.



This was taken in mid-June, before all the excitement of the season really got started . . .

These others are from 1 October. I came out of the bank that evening and discovered this fantastic sunset after some earlier rain showers.

Image 2


Image 3


Image 4
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
Quoting antonio28:
Good Evening to evereyone!

I just see the models and have to came to this blog, and as I expected you guys are on an tropical forescast mode once again!

Do I have to watch this from Puerto Rico or our holydays are safe?

We have Olga last year in mid December.




If it were to approach Puerto Rico, strong vertical shear in excess of well over 30 knots would tear it apart. Honestly, I feel that any land areas are safe with possible Rene.
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hows this for weather.... 28mm of rain on Friday and 17C..... Saturday was 34C and 65km/h winds with higher gusts. And today is nice, 24C and the occasional wind gust of 40km/h. talk about iradic weather patterns.
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Quoting Skyepony:
Bjanmama ~ The models have inconsistantly shown areas of higher vorticy, coming your way, at the 850mb level associated with the wave that is expected to play a part in a disterbance. These areas of storms that may effect you would be part of a tropical wave but not expected to be the end that plays with the front & possibly becomes Rene.


Thank you Skypony! that was my thinking as well, but given the massiveness of the systems, unless we get some strong tradewinds, it looks as though we are in for some heavy rain. the good news is looking toward Africa, this may finally be the "last hurrah" but we like dry 75-80degrees, perfect blue skies and "puffy" children's clouds with strong tradwwinds for out christmases..can't blame us really, can you? after six-seven months of heavy himidity and constantly looking over the shoulder at the Cape Verdes for whatever depressions, TS or hurricanes decides to come our way. Hope everyone on the blog has the weather they want for christmas- and isn't it a blessing to see the progress surfMom's Gabriel has made!
P.S. Pottery know you are going to have a fantastic time tonight at the wedding- nothing like christmas, parang and weddings to keep the spirit moving in the Caribbean!
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
December tropical systems often have weird tracks because they encounter different steering winds than we are used to seeing in late summer:



This track is akin to the system the models are developing
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
.... moved.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
197. calusakat 11:57 PM GMT on December 13, 2008

i dont know the answers but i would say that those are interesting questions
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quoting jeffmasters blog...
"If it is cold enough to snow, we may actually see increased snow in many locations. Global warming puts more moisture in the atmosphere, due to fact that higher global temperatures evaporate more moisture off of the oceans. I expect that coming decades will bring many record snowfalls, due to the increased moisture available in the atmosphere."

Question...If the water evaporates of the ocean, doesn't that mean the ocean temperature is reduced due to the evaporation?

Question...If heat rises, doesn't that evaporated water rise because of the heat it contains?

Question...When that evaporated water reaches the upper reaches of the atmosphere doesn't it lose its heat to the much colder conditions found there?

Question...When that evaporated water cools sufficiently, doesn't it then sometimes fall as rain and or snow?

Question...That water/snow cools the atmosphere and the surface of the earth as well doesn't it?

Question...Where does the heat go that is lost by the evaporated water at the upper reaches of the atmosphere?

Question...Is it possible that increased snow could as easily be the forerunner of a cooling period just as well?


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Good Evening to evereyone!

I just see the models and have to came to this blog, and as I expected you guys are on an tropical forescast mode once again!

Do I have to watch this from Puerto Rico or our holydays are safe?

We have Olga last year in mid December.


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Hurricane xylophone...
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30490
Hey, what'dja do to ur avatar, HGW?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
193. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
yup they have all the alphabet letters except for "X"
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45302
Hmmm. . . guess they have an easier time coming up with Z names than we do . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
191. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
21 depressions has entered/formed into/in the PAR this year.. almost completing the the list.

names remaining on the list

Vicky
Warren
Yoyong
Zosimo
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45302
190. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration

The Tropical Storm east of Bicol region has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility and was named "ULYSSES".

Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #2 (1500z)
==============================
At 11:00 PM PhST, Tropical Storm Ulysses (DOLPHIN) located at 13.9°N, 134.4°E or 1,120 km east of Virac, Catanduanes has 10 minute sustained winds of 85 km/h (45 knots) with gustiness up to 100 km/h (55 knots).

Additional Information
=======================
Tropical Storm "ULYSSES" is still too far to affect any part of the country.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45302
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:


http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml

Atlantic Names – Pronunciation Guide - 2008

Rene re-NAY


i think its odd that for 2011 they replaced katrina with Katia and
rita with rina
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188. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #16
T2008-22 DOLPHIN
6:00 AM JST December 14 2008
===============================================

Subject: CATEGORY ONE TYPHOON EAST OF THE PHILIPPINES

At 6:00 AM JST, Tropical Storm Dolphin (990 hPa) located near 13.9N 133.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts up to 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 12 knots.

Gale-force Winds
================
150 NM from the center in northeast quadrant
120 NM from the center in southwest quadrant

Dvorak Intensity:

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 14.1N 130.5E - 60 knots (CAT 2)
45 HRS: 14.3N 129.6E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
69 HRS: 15.3N 128.6E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45302
Quoting HurrikanEB:
is Rene pronounced Ren-A or Ree-nee


http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml

Atlantic Names – Pronunciation Guide - 2008

Rene re-NAY
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Dolphin looks terrible it just sort of died
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2372
is Rene pronounced Ren-A or Ree-nee
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.