A rare Deep South snow event breaks Dallas' all-time snowfall record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:55 PM GMT on February 12, 2010

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A rare Deep South heavy snow event is in full swing today, thanks to a powerful 1000 mb extratropical storm centered just south of Alabama. The storm clobbered Dallas with 11.2" of snow yesterday, the heaviest snow on record for the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Dallas' previous record was 7.4", set on January 15 - 16, 1964. The 14.4" of snow that has now fallen on Dallas this winter eclipses the previous record seasonal snowfall for the city--14.1" during the winter of 1977 - 1978. Yesterday's snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow along a narrow region just north of Dallas and Fort Worth, with the town of Haslet receiving 14.2".


Figure 1. The Deep South snow event of February, 12, 2010 in a visible satellite image taken at 9 am EST. Image credit: NASA GOES project.

As the storm races eastwards across the Gulf today, a wide area of snowfall in excess of four inches will affect Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, with lesser amounts in South Carolina, North Carolina, and the extreme northwestern corner of the Florida Panhandle. As of 7am this morning, here are some selected snow amounts reported by National Weather Service:

...ALABAMA...
CUBA 1.5
THOMASVILLE 1.0

...ARKANSAS...
FOREMAN 4.0
TEXARKANA 1 N 4.0

...LOUISIANA...
NATCHITOCHES 6.0
SHONGALOO 5 N 6.0
SHREVEPORT 5.4
MONROE 5.0
NATCHITOCHES 4.0

...MISSISSIPPI...
DE KALB 8.0
CATAHOULA 5.0
VICKSBURG 5.0
RAYVILLE 4.2
BROOKHAVEN 4.0
MCCALL CREEK 5 W 4.0
SICILY ISLAND 4.0
JACKSON 3.2

...OKLAHOMA...
HAWORTH 4 SW 7.5
IDABEL 8 SE 7.5
RATTAN 13 E 4.5

...TEXAS...
HASLET 14.2
FORT WORTH 12.6
DALLAS 12.5
BRIDGEPORT 12.0
ROYSE CITY 12.0
POINT 3.7 ESE 11.0
EAGLE MOUNTAIN 10.5
ENNIS 10.3
FRISCO 1.9 N 10.3
JACKSBORO 6.2 SW 10.0
LINDALE 10.0
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS 10.0
COTTONDALE 9.5
OAK CLIFF 9.5
PRINCETON 3 N 9.5
FORT WORTH 14 N 9.0
ARLINGTON 8.0

As we can see from a plot of the frequency of U.S. snowstorms between 1900 - 2001 (Figure 2), heavy snow events of 6+ inches occur about once every ten years for Dallas, and between once every ten years and once every 100 years for the portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that may end up getting 6+ inches from this storm.


Figure 2. The annual average number of snowstorms with a 6 inch (15.2 cm) or greater accumulation, from the years 1901 - 2001. A value of 0.1 means an average of one 6+ inch snowstorm every ten years. Image credit: Changnon, S.A., D. Changnon, and T.R. Karl, 2006, Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Snowstorms in the Contiguous United States, J. Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 45, 8, pp. 1141-1155, DOI: 10.1175/JAM2395.1.

More heavy snowstorms occur in warmer-than-average years
Another interesting result from the Changnon et al. (2006) paper (Figure 2) is the relationship between heavy snowstorms and the average winter temperature. For the contiguous U.S. between 1900 - 2001, the authors found that 61% - 80% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters with above normal temperatures. In other words, the old adage, "it's too cold to snow", has some truth to it. The authors also found that 61% - 85% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters that were wetter than average. The authors conclude, "a future with wetter and warmer winters, which is one outcome expected (National Assessment Synthesis Team 2001), will bring more heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches than in 1901 - 2000. The authors found that over the U.S. as a whole, there had been a slight but significant increase in heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches between 1901 - 2000. However, a separate paper by Houston and Changnon (2009), "Characteristics of the top ten snowstorms at First-Order Stations in the U.S.", found that there was no upward or downward trend in the very heaviest snowstorms for the contiguous U.S. between 1948 - 2001, as evaluated by looking at the top ten snowstorms for 121 major cities.

More snow headed for the mid-Atlantic next week
The extreme amounts of snow on the ground in the Mid-Atlantic from back-to-back blizzards over the past week will get some more company on Monday night, when a new snowstorm will hit the region. I'm thinking that the new storm will drop another 2 - 6 inches of snow on the Baltimore-D.C.-Philadelphia region. The computer forecast models have not yet come into agreement on where Monday's storm will hit, or how much moisture it will be able to tap into, so there is still high uncertainty over how much snow will fall.

A historical precedent for "Snowmageddon": the "Great Snow" of 1717
I've commented several times this week that there is no precedent in the historical record, going back to the late 1800s, to the incredible snow blitz the Mid-Atlantic has endured. Well, it turns out there is a comparable winter, at least for Philadelphia, if one goes back in time nearly 300 years. According to Chris Burt, author of the excellent book, Extreme Weather, in 1717 four storms between February 27 and March 9 dropped a total of 3 - 5 feet of snow from Philadelphia to Boston. Snow drifts as much as 25' deep occurred in the Boston area. An account of the 1717 event was one of the first journal entries of the Massachusetts Historical Society by Cotton Mather. Chris told me he wasn't aware of any comparable events affecting Washington D.C. or Baltimore, however. Chris will be joining wunderground this April as a featured blogger, and I greatly look forward to having him put our modern weather records into historical context.

Next post
I'll probably do a short post on Saturday.

Jeff Masters

Blizzard Car Shadows (BocaJoe)
Blizzard Car Shadows
Snow Damage in Arlington (mikekttx)
Snow Damage in Arlington on 2/11/10. Apartment covered parking structures are failing all over the city.
Snow Damage in Arlington

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Still waiting for proof of snow on the ground at Mobile, Pensacola, or Tallahassee....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MTWX:


Mikester I loaded those photos from '93 to the WunderPhotos. Take a look when you get a chance. Government computer wouldnt let me put it on the blog...

Gotta love the Government Computers, haha...
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Quoting code1:


My fave salty dog! If it were as warm here as where you are, I would agree. It's NOT though. Heck, if it's gonna be this cold, 38F Destin, it may as well give us something to look at!
Still have room in the hut down there sans snake?



...as far as I know
the only beings of consequence in the house
(or even on the porches)
are two cats and I.

We have not seen Samantha since that one appearance.

CRS
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Quoting NEwxguy:
Can this winter get any crazier!!!


Yep next will be death valley getting 1ft of snow!!!
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Kinda crazy.....
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55. MTWX
Quoting mikester:
damn parts of texas get 14" of snow. And beginning of next week dc/baltimore are in for another storm. Noticed nothing forecasted for the northeast again next week.


Mikester I loaded those photos from '93 to the WunderPhotos. Take a look when you get a chance. Government computer wouldnt let me put it on the blog...
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Quoting BobHodges:


As the storm winds up and pulls away, watch for the moisture to depart with it. But before it does, it'll pull down some colder drier air, dropping your temps.



A degree, maybe 2, but IF that happens, by then the precip will be gone. Either way, no snow on the beach. Again, just my $.02...
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Its approaching NOON and i only have 48deg.......i am done with this cold!
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Can this winter get any crazier!!!
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
The ONLY place ice belongs
is in your drink!

CRS


My fave salty dog! If it were as warm here as where you are, I would agree. It's NOT though. Heck, if it's gonna be this cold, 38F Destin, it may as well give us something to look at!
Still have room in the hut down there sans snake?
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 66 Comments: 13872
Quoting P451:
Does anyone realize that by the end of the day every single US state could have measurable snowfall?

Questionmarks are: Florida, Hawaii (They do get snow, but do they have it right now, I don't know.)

How amazing would that be?


Hawaii has snow on top of a few of the Volcanic Summits and FL will receive snow by 5-7pm today.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
New Headline, now being reported on local Ch. 5, Fox
Metro Red Line Train Derails

Farragut North Station (downtown DC, around K & L)
going towards the Shady Grove station (towards Gaithersburg)
A 6-car train has derailed, underground,
The first car had the problem, front wheels came off the track,
Have been no injuries reported yet
People are walking from the train

There will be major delays

www.myfoxdc.com/
Link

AIM, look at post #26, SE Arlington, TX has about 14" of SNOW on the ground. And thanks for sharing your snow with us :0)
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
The ONLY place ice belongs
is in your drink!

CRS


A nice single-malt scotch on the rocks please.

BTW...make it a double! :)
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
The ONLY place ice belongs
is in your drink!

CRS


Correct, Sir!!
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from twitter--

@ryancohn "Sheriff's Office of Tallahassee is reporting snow by TCC. Confirmed by emergency services. Time to make a snowman!"

i don't see any snow where i am in tallahassee...yet...fingers crossed, entering into full wishcast mode now.
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Here is a web-cam you can control located at the Mobile Zoo.

Move the camera down to the pond. Looks like rain to me.

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The ONLY place ice belongs
is in your drink!

CRS
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Mikester :0)

Yes, SE Arlington, TX has about 14.5" of snow on the ground right now. We have broken just about every record in the book with this at the Dallas-Ft Worth, TX Int'l AP!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


We'll see what happens.......My kids in Tallahassee are praying for a few snowflakes..


...and I hope they get it. As a matter of fact, if the snow Gods have plans for ANY snow to come my way, flurries included, they can have that too, no charge...
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Quoting JGreco:
Also, what is different about the dynamics on this coast here compared to towards Tallahassee? The NWS met is still saying that there should be a change over to snow on the coast by mid afternoon. Why not towards the coast in PC or Tallahassee?


I believe their reasoning is based on the track of storm itself. As it starts to head northward, the optimal location for snow follows parallel to it; hence, the SW-to-NE gradient.
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Also, what is different about the dynamics on this coast here (FWB, Okaloosa County that is under a Winter Storm Warning to the coast) compared to towards Tallahassee? The NWS met is still saying that there should be a change over to snow on the coast by mid afternoon. Why not towards the coast in PC or Tallahassee?
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Quoting Marlinzfan:
Anyone have a forcast as to how strong the squall line will be in Miami-Dade County ? I see that there is a wind warning out for all the keys and for mainland Monroe County, but nothing for Miami-Dade County. Are we in the clear during this event ? Thanks for any comments in advance.


Below is a link to the NWS Miami, FL for your best updates on the approaching storm:
Link
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting NttyGrtty:


Northern half of the panhandle maybe. Too warm (if you can call 37 warm, brrr) south of I-10. Cold drizzle all day is about all the beach is going to see. My $.02...


As the storm winds up and pulls away, watch for the moisture to depart with it. But before it does, it'll pull down some colder drier air, dropping your temps.

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35. IKE
Quoting MTWX:
It finally is snowing!!


Location?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting JGreco:
When did Joe Bastardi say it was going to Snow down here? Anybody have a link? Was it today?


Two days ago, live interview on radio.
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33. IKE
Mobile, Alabama (Airport)
Updated: 4 min 41 sec ago
Light Snow
34 °F

Light Snow Mist
Windchill: 26 °F
Humidity: 93%
Dew Point: 32 °F
Wind: 10 mph from the NNW
Pressure: 29.91 in (Rising)
Visibility: 2.0 miles
UV: 2 out of 16
Clouds:
Overcast 600 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 217 ft
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
32. MTWX
It finally is snowing!!
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Pascagoula Web Cam
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When did Joe Bastardi say it was going to Snow down here? Anybody have a link? Was it today?
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Quoting 850Realtor:
Snowing on ALDOT traffic cam in Grand Bay...at I-10.


link?
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Quoting NttyGrtty:


Northern half of the panhandle maybe. Too warm (if you can call 37 warm, brrr) south of I-10. Cold drizzle all day is about all the beach is going to see. My $.02...


We'll see what happens.......My kids in Tallahassee are praying for a few snowflakes..
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27. IKE
So Bastardi eats crow huh?


CITY SKY/WX TMP DP RH WIND PRES REMARKS
MOBILE REG APT FLURRIES 35 33 92 N10 29.89R WCI 27


Pascagoula, Mississippi (Airport)
Updated: 4 min 5 sec ago
Light Snow
36 °F
Light Snow Mist

Windchill: 29 °F
Humidity: 93%
Dew Point: 34 °F
Wind: 8 mph from the NNW
Pressure: 29.92 in (Rising)
Visibility: 2.5 miles
UV: 2 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 800 ft
Mostly Cloudy 1500 ft
Overcast 2500 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 16 ft
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Here are a few pictures from SE Arlington, TX taken this morning after we got socked with 12-15" of snow!!



Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
02/12/2010 0831 am

Citronelle, Mobile County.

Heavy snow e3.5 inch, reported by broadcast media.


Citizen reported live that 3.5 inches was on ground most
of which feel since 7 am CST.
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Quoting BobHodges:
This storm is stronger than anticipated, while staying south. Expect accumulating snows by mid afternoon in the Panhandle of Florida, and a rain/snow mix as far east as Monticello. Tallahassee should see a period of all snow somewhere around 5-7pm until it all comes to an end.


Northern half of the panhandle maybe. Too warm (if you can call 37 warm, brrr) south of I-10. Cold drizzle all day is about all the beach is going to see. My $.02...
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Remember...for those of you along the coast driving north up two-lane highways to get to the snow...DRIVE SLOWLY and keep your distance from traffic ahead of you.

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Snowing on ALDOT traffic cam in Grand Bay...at I-10.
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damn parts of texas get 14" of snow. And beginning of next week dc/baltimore are in for another storm. Noticed nothing forecasted for the northeast again next week.
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This storm is stronger than anticipated, while staying south. Expect accumulating snows by mid afternoon in the Panhandle of Florida, and a rain/snow mix as far east as Monticello. Tallahassee should see a period of all snow somewhere around 5-7pm until it all comes to an end.
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Dang that global warming! Had we all just stopped driving yesterday, we could've lowered the global temperature and you would've had a heavy snow event. Pity.... :)
You will be surprised how much there is piled up in the pipeline.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Click to zoom.......LOVE IT my family in Southern Indiana is due to get about 10"...yeppie

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15. IKE
Quoting CycloneOz:



Mobile, Alabama (Airport)
Updated: 16 min 15 sec ago
Light Rain
35 °F
Light Rain Snow
<<<<<<<<<<<
Windchill: 27 °F
Humidity: 92%
Dew Point: 33 °F
Wind: 10 mph from the North
Pressure: 29.89 in (Rising)
Visibility: 9.0 miles
UV: 1 out of 16
Clouds:
Overcast 600 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 217 ft
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
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Thanks for the stats Dr......Very impressive storms indeed...This pattern does not bode well for the upcoming Spring severe weather/tornado season.
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New Headline, now being reported on local Ch. 5, Fox
Metro Red Line Train Derails

Farragut North Station (downtown DC, around K & L)
going towards the Shady Grove station (towards Gaithersburg)
A 6-car train has derailed, underground,
The first car had the problem, front wheels came off the track,
Have been no injuries reported yet
People are walking from the train

There will be major delays

www.myfoxdc.com/
Link
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Conditions at 42003 as of
(10:50 am EST)
1550 GMT on 02/12/2010:

Wind Direction (WDIR): S ( 170 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 16.0 m/s
Wind Gust (GST): 20.0 m/s
Wave Height (WVHT): 2.8 m
Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
Average Period (APD): 5.8 sec
Mean Wave Direction (MWD): SSE ( 162 deg true )
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 1000.8 mb
Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -3.9 mb ( Falling Rapidly )

Air Temperature (ATMP): 23.5 °C
Water Temperature (WTMP): 24.9 °C
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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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