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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Quoting all4hurricanes:

I live in Fairfax and I know. I had to rake just a few minutes ago and it froze my fingers off (not literally) and the 07-08 snow season was horrible for school snow-days only one day off and only 6 max hours of good sledding snow. I really hope we get more this year


I got 2 snow days last year cumulative um... more than 2 feet and sledding for 4 straight months... : P LOL im in MI, tho.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #10
T2008-22 DOLPHIN
12:00 PM JST December 13 2008
===============================================

Subject: CATEGORY ONE TYPHOON EAST OF THE PHILIPPINES

At 12:00 PM JST, Tropical Storm Dolphin (992 hPa) located near 14.1N 136.4E 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: 13.8N 132.2E - 55 knots (CAT 2)
45 HRS: 13.5N 130.0E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
69 HRS: 14.5N 129.2E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Great pictures everyone!! Looks like y'all are having a blast in the snow... here in Buffalo, we only got a dusting from that storm! GO FIGURE! Welcome to my kind of storm!! :oP

Take care all!!
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I just saw the moon again, it appears large and bright, and even though it was snowing, I could still see the moon very clearly. A halo has formed around the moon through thin cloud, and about half an hour ago I saw hundreds of snowflakes gliding across the moon with binoculars. By the way I wasn't able to see the Dec 1 conjunction because it was cloudy, but the moon tonight sure is amazing! Someone from Florida said the moon looks like it's pulsating. By the way, I'm also a fairly experienced amateur astronomer. On a good night I can find the Andromeda Galaxy through my telescope, for example, in just 10 minutes. Back to the tropics, Dolphin looks pretty impressive. It is forecast to become a typhoon.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
Quoting all4hurricanes:
Ok nobody has posted in an hour. There is a TS in the Wpac, record snow in the south, and the possibility of TS or STS Rene next week this blog should be more active considering a few days ago this blog was busy with nothing happening. Can someone else please say something?!?


Well I just dropped by All4.. but I expected the blog to be dead as it is nearing Christmas and people need to shop etc and there is really no major (change to this side of world) Wx going on right now that I know of. Mid next week might be very different.
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Ok nobody has posted in an hour. There is a TS in the Wpac, record snow in the south, and the possibility of TS or STS Rene next week this blog should be more active considering a few days ago this blog was busy with nothing happening. Can someone else please say something?!?
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2377
76. Skyepony (Mod)
Dolphin
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39469
75. Skyepony (Mod)
Dolphin is coming together..

CIMSS Satalite blog has some awesome animations & stills of the snow event.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39469
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #9
T2008-22 DOLPHIN
9:00 AM JST December 13 2008
===============================================

Subject: CATEGORY ONE TYPHOON EAST OF THE PHILIPPINES

At 9:00 AM JST, Tropical Storm Dolphin (992 hPa) located near 14.2N 136.9E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts up to 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 11 knots.

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

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 14.0N 132.6E - 55 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS: 13.5N 130.0E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
72 HRS: 14.5N 129.2E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TCNA21 RJTD 130000
CCAA 13000 47644 DOLPHIN(0822) 30142 11369 13234 230// 92717=

TS DOLPHIN (0822)
14.2N 136.9E
Dvorak Intensity T3.0



SSD: T3.5
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Joint Typhoon Warning Center

Tropical Disturbance Summary (2300z 12DEC)
==========================================
An area of convection (95S) located at 11.3S 50.2E or 55 NM northeast of Madagascar. Animated infrared satellite imagery shows a low level circulation with increased curvature of deep convection within the northeastern quadrant. However, interaction with northern Madagascar has temporarily disrupted significant consolidation. A 1414z Quikscat Pass indicates 15-20 knot winds near the low level circulation center with higher rain-contaminated winds within the southwest quadrant. Latest satellite intensity fixes from PGTW and KNES range from 25-30 knots. Upper level analysis indicates the system is located in an area of low vertical wind shear and increased radial outflow as evident in animated water vapor imagery.

Maximum sustained winds near the center is 20-25 knots with a minimum sea level pressure of 1006 MB. In view of the improved environment and convective signature, the potential for this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is UPGRADED TO FAIR.
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Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #8
T2008-22 DOLPHIN
6:00 AM JST December 13 2008
===============================================

Subject: CATEGORY ONE TYPHOON EAST OF THE PHILIPPINES

At 6:00 AM JST, Tropical Storm Dolphin (998 hPa) located near 14.2N 137.9E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts up to 60 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 7 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: 14.3N 133.1E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
45 HRS: 14.2N 131.1E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
69 HRS: 14.7N 130.0E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
area of interest
est pos
23.8n/51.9w
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
The full moon Friday night will be the biggest one of the year as Earth's natural satellite reaches its closest point to our planet.

my blog #485 for more info
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Quoting Drakoen:


Sure. I'll send you an email shortly.


Thanks
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
Wow, I just saw the full moon at perigee! It was snowing here in S. Ontario. The Weather Network says it's -68C here, lol!
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
Link
storm by Madagascar? probably not but I'm paranoid like that
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2377
Quoting futuremet:


Drakoen

can you tell me where to get information about CAPE?

such as CAPE forecasts etc.


everyo


Sure. I'll send you an email shortly.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
Quoting Weatherchikkk17:
Haha here in northern virginia its just feezing. we were under a winter weather advisory a few hours ago, but no snow :( you guys are so lucky... we havent gotten a good snow storm in a few years... just ice!

I live in Fairfax and I know. I had to rake just a few minutes ago and it froze my fingers off (not literally) and the 07-08 snow season was horrible for school snow-days only one day off and only 6 max hours of good sledding snow. I really hope we get more this year
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2377
Wow dolphin looks dazzling to me.

I will write an analysis tomorrow on this system tomorrow.

*I will also write an analysis on the Atlantic, the models are expecting a strong hybrid storm to form.
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
oops... i meant freezing
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Quoting Drakoen:


Great minds think alike lol. I was thinking the same think. The snow depth and the solar reflection...snow still on the ground even when temps are well above freezing.


Drakoen

can you tell me where to get information about CAPE?

such as CAPE forecasts etc.


everyo
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
Haha here in northern virginia its just feezing. we were under a winter weather advisory a few hours ago, but no snow :( you guys are so lucky... we havent gotten a good snow storm in a few years... just ice!
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When are you going to recognize that "global warming" is nothing more than the warm portion of long term weather cycles. Even global warming believers admit that temperature during the 20th Century only changed by about 0.17% (Note for non-mathematicians: the per cent change has to be calculated using the Kelvin scale because of the arbitrary zero points of the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales.) That difference could indicate nothing more than changes in equipment or changes in the thermal characteristics of measuring locations.

Climate varies according to long term and short term cycles. Accurate detailed global weather data is only available for about a century. Satellite data is available for only a few decades.

Observations of the sun by scientists over several centuries indicate variation in sun spot activity may be associated with temperature cycles, but the exact relationship is unknown because scientists have only recently been able to measure the sun's output without the interference of earth's atmosphere.

Past observations indicate the sun has centuries long cycles of activity as well as the more closely studied 11 year cycle. Astrophysicists believe the sun may be entering a quieter period in its sunspot cycle which in the past has been associated with colder temperatures.

Incidentally, the claim that trapping infrared radiation causes heating in greenhouses was disproved a century ago by physicist R.W. Wood who invented infrared photography among other things. http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/wood_rw.1909.html

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new orleans was amazing yesterday we had 2 inches at my house
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Link
TS Dolphin IR doesn't anyone else use my link because I think it is helpful
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2377
Just a short "hello" from Germany. I've been lurking for already some weeks, enjoying your discussions and the interesting developpments of weather around the GOM. Here, in the mid of Germany (Rhine River) weather is usually (and luckily) quite boring.
When your beautiful snow in the south of CONUS is gone, enjoy those new pics from the south of Swiss etc. (link) A little bit toooo much of this white stuff in a very short time
http://www.wetteronline.de/wotexte/redaktion/fotostrecke/2008/12/11_sg1.htm
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Quoting atmoaggie:


Thanks. I bet there are some forecasters not used to thinking about solar insolation and surface albedo being as dynamical as they are when there is an area of snow cover like this. I wonder if this area is large enough to have an effect...

In the south, the albedo is usually the albedo. I doesn't change (spatially) all that much.


Great minds think alike lol. I was thinking the same think. The snow depth and the solar reflection...snow still on the ground even when temps are well above freezing.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
Quoting tillou:
Patrap, is that you in that pic?!?!?!?


That's a pic from nola.com Photo section.Link

Im not that graceful either.
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As for T.S. Dolphin, was that named after the animal or is Dolphin a human name in an Asian language?
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Good Afternoon!

Peculiar weather pattern we've been having. First, snow, then, 70 degree temperatures, and now, STS Rene!
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Quoting Drakoen:
Nice shot there atmo.


Thanks. I bet there are some forecasters not used to thinking about solar insolation and surface albedo being as dynamical as they are when there is an area of snow cover like this. I wonder if this area is large enough to have an effect...

In the south, the albedo is usually the albedo. I doesn't change (spatially) all that much.
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Well If Rene does form it wouldn't surprise me. I really think the NHC should extend the official Bounds from May 1st to December 31st.
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Nice shot there atmo.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
Check out how much snow was still on the ground in SE LA as of the Terra pass a couple of hours ago.

All of the white on Land in LA/MS is NOT clouds, but snow cover.

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From Spring Texas.....What a year it has been with Hurricane Ike and now Snow. At least the temps were moderate enough as not to lose power..

It was very pretty.
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Patrap, is that you in that pic?!?!?!?
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Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #7
T2008-22 DOLPHIN
3:00 AM JST December 13 2008
===============================================

Subject: CATEGORY ONE TYPHOON EAST OF THE PHILIPPINES

At 3:00 AM JST, Tropical Storm Dolphin (998 hPa) located near 14.2N 138.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts up to 60 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west-northwest at 10 knots.

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

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 14.7N 133.5E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS: 14.2N 131.1E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
72 HRS: 14.7N 130.0E - 65 knots (CAT 3)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
Post # 29...my God.....that's worse than me in a dress....


Don't flatter yourself... lol
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
Possible subtropical storm Rene in the Atlantic in December,

Gulf coast snow in December that has more accumalation than in Chicago and New England,

Huge Arctic Blast coming down the pike next week causing total chaos somewhere.
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Wow, possible STS Rene this weekend. And... TS Dolphin?! LOL
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 688
Would this be "falling rapidly?" ;)

29.78 -0.17
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20-50 percent chance of Rene already that's high hopes
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2377
wow

WWW.TORNADOLINKS.COM
Member Since: July 13, 2004 Posts: 72 Comments: 241
Still some snow on the ground here even though it's 50 degrees and the sun is shining bright.

I got more like 7 inches of snow at my place outside of town.

Thanks for choosing my pic Jeff, I made it into a card. I hope everyone has a:

Photobucket
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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.

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