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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Whiteout conditions in WPB. This rain is 10X better than snow. :D
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
here gro



is fiu in that circle?
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Quoting Floridano:
dios mio.


aye, que lastima!!
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here gro

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Clouds are becoming blk ehre in southeast dade.
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/>
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Hey, Keeper, do you have a link to a non-moving graphic of this system> I want to make a copy, but can't find one? Any one will do. thanks.
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dios mio.
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Right now in Cooper City (in Broward County), the sky has become rather dark and turbulent, but winds have calmed down quite a bit from where they had been throughout the day which is one of the tell tale signs that severe weather is approaching my area as I type. Really looking nasty on radar right now where I have analyzed some near hurricane force gusts in the squall line.
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<
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Flood, this shouldn't be the case during our dry season down here.
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YA they are got
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Hey, Keeper, I don't like the look of those black deepening in the center of the squall line. Those are very dangerous winds in them. Is this the Plymouth State graphics?
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EXPECT VIVID LIGHTENING INTENSE BRIEF RAINS STRAIGHT LINE WIND DAMAGE OF 70 MPH
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Gee, JFV, if it isn't hurricanes it's thundertorms, huh?
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Quoting Floridano:


GULP, :0.


I'll be getting that squall line here in Cooper City in the next half hour.
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Oh no, I'm begining to see a bowish appereance to that line. OMG!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
WARNING WARNING WARNING


GULP, :0.
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This Low pressure sure deepen ... currently have my barometer 998.4MB with other stations around me reporting like readings.

The strengthening sure is showing itself now in SFL with that healthy squall line. I've received so far .87" of rain.and winds starting to switch little by little to the NW and gusty.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4881
Quoting Patrap:
On the Road,I-55 South to New Orleans outta McComb,Miss this Afternoon..80 Mile NW of NOLA.



You know, Pat, you guys could have come up here; we have a spare bedroom and you would have seen some serious snow...LOL
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Relatives house in Greer SC :))

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WARNING WARNING WARNING
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I am still in PA I called Grothar Jr. and told him to pick up any loose items in the yard. His response was, "Yeah, yeah, well don't worry about it! and hung up. Ah, to be young again.

Issued by The National Weather Service
Miami, FL
2:37 pm EST, Fri., Feb. 12, 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 17 IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM EST THIS EVENING FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS

IN FLORIDA THIS WATCH INCLUDES 7 COUNTIES

IN SOUTH FLORIDA

BROWARD COLLIER GLADES HENDRY MAINLAND MONROE MIAMI-DADE PALM BEACH

THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF... CLEWISTON... FLAMINGO... FORT LAUDERDALE... LA BELLE... MIAMI... MOORE HAVEN... NAPLES AND WEST PALM BEACH.

THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH... AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.
REMEMBER... A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

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DBZ 70
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... STRONG THUNDERSTORMS MOVING INTO THE METRO AREAS OF PALM BEACH AND NORTHERN BROWARD COUNTIES...

AT 451 PM EST... NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED STRONG THUNDERSTORMS ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 9 MILES NORTHWEST OF NORTH PALM BEACH GENERAL AIRPORT TO MICCOSUKEE SERVICE PLAZA... MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.

THESE STORMS WILL AFFECT...

MICCOSUKEE SERVICE PLAZA... CALOOSA... PHILO FARMS... TEQUESTA... FAU NORTH CAMPUS... FLORIDA GARDENS... TURNPIKE... I-95... SAWGRASS EXPRESSWAY... SAWGRASS MILLS MALL...

AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES.

THE PRIMARY IMPACT WILL BE GUSTY WINDS OF 40 TO 50 MPH... WHICH CAN DOWN SMALL TREE LIMBS AND BRANCHES... AND BLOW AROUND UNSECURED SMALL OBJECTS. SEEK SHELTER IN A SAFE BUILDING UNTIL THE STORM PASSES.

RESIDENTS NEAR THE PATH OF THESE STORMS SHOULD REMAIN ON THE ALERT FOR ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

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On the Road,I-55 South to New Orleans outta McComb,Miss this Afternoon..80 Mile NW of NOLA.

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THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR SOUTH FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT

THUNDERSTORMS: A LINE OF STRONG TO POSSIBLY SEVERE SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS IS EXPECTED TO RACE EASTWARD ACROSS THE AREA THROUGH
THIS EVENING. DAMAGING WIND GUSTS OF 60 TO 70 MPH ARE POSSIBLE
WITH THIS LINE AS IT RACES EAST AT A VERY FAST SPEED OF 50 MPH.
FOR THIS REASON, A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR
ALL OF SOUTH FLORIDA EFFECTIVE UNTIL 10 PM THIS EVENING.

WIND: SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING
DAMAGING WINDS OF 60 TO 70 MPH THROUGH THIS EVENING. AHEAD OF THE
FRONT, SUSTAINED WINDS OVER THE MAINLAND WILL CONTINUE TO PREVAIL
AT NEAR 25 MPH WITH FREQUENT GUSTS TO AROUND 35 MPH. THUS...A WIND
ADVISORY HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR ALL OF MAINLAND SOUTH FLORIDA
EFFECTIVE UNTIL 9 PM THIS EVENING. SUSTAINED WINDS OF 30 TO 35
KNOTS ARE EXPECTED ON THE LOCAL WATERS THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING,
WITH A GALE WARNING IN EFFECT.

TORNADOES: ALTHOUGH THE PRIMARY IMPACT WITH THE LINE OF SHOWERS AND
STORMS WILL BE STRONG TO SEVERE WIND GUSTS, A BRIEF TORNADO OR
WATERSPOUT CANNOT BE RULED OUT.

RIP CURRENTS: VERY STRONG SOUTHEAST WINDS WILL RESULT IN A HIGH
RISK OF RIP CURRENTS ALONG THE ATLANTIC COAST THROUGH THE EARLY
PORTION OF THE AFTERNOON. WINDS WILL STRENGTHEN AND SHIFT TO
SOUTHWEST BY MID AFTERNOON, WITH A DIMINISHING THREAT FOR RIP
CURRENTS ALONG THE ATLANTIC COAST AND AN INCREASING THREAT FOR RIP
CURRENTS ALONG THE GULF COAST. HIGH SURF MAY ALSO LEAD TO MINOR
COASTAL FLOODING AND BEACH EROSION ALONG THE GULF COAST FROM THIS
AFTERNOON THROUGH EARLY SATURDAY MORNING.

TEMPERATURES: MUCH COLDER AIR WILL BEGIN TO MOVE ACROSS SOUTH
FLORIDA LATE TONIGHT, AS THE COLD FRONT MOVES AWAY FROM THE
LOCAL AREA. THE COMBINATION OF TEMPERATURES FALLING INTO THE LOWER
TO MID 40S AND A NORTHWEST WIND OF 10 TO 15 MPH WILL ALLOW WIND
CHILLS TO FALL INTO THE 40 TO 45 DEGREE RANGE ACROSS MUCH OF
INTERIOR SOUTH FLORIDA, AND INTO THE 35 TO 40 DEGREE RANGE IN THE
REGION WEST OF THE LAKE.

WAVES: GALE FORCE WINDS WILL PERSIST ON THE LOCAL WATERS THROUGH
SATURDAY MORNING, WITH SEAS BUILDING TO 7 TO 9 FEET IN THE GULF
STREAM AND 8 TO 10 FEET IN THE OFFSHORE GULF WATERS.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY

NORTHWEST WINDS WILL SLOWLY SUBSIDE ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE
ADJACENT WATERS ON SATURDAY, BUT SMALL CRAFT ADVISORIES WILL
LIKELY STILL BE NEEDED. A COLD AIR MASS WILL LINGER ACROSS THE
REGION ON SATURDAY NIGHT, WITH A PERIOD OF SUBFREEZING
TEMPERATURES POSSIBLE ACROSS GLADES AND HENDRY COUNTIES. WIND
CHILLS WILL LIKELY FALL INTO THE 35 TO 40 DEGREE RANGE ACROSS THE
WESTERN HALF OF THE PENINSULA, WITH 40 TO 45 DEGREE READINGS
EXPECTED ELSEWHERE.

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So, once again, a major city in Texas has had more snow in a storm than we have received in Southern Ontario. This season has seen about 35 cm (14 in) of snow in total at Toronto Pearson, while the previous record low (1952-53) was about 55 cm (21 in) and usually by this time of year we would have gotten around 210 cm (83 in) which is close to what Baltimore has seen this season in its snowiest winter on record which is why I think there could be a major snowstorm in S. Ontario as the storm track moves north around March.

Cyclone Rene, or its remnant low, is now predicted to hit the North Island of New Zealand!

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My bad again, but its not often you see 60-70mph winds in a local forecast. Everyone in S. Fl. heads up.
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This am..McComb,Miss around 10:45 am.

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Well it looks like that lonesome weather guy on the Panhandle will have to order a crow sandwich tomorrow as snow has accumulated in Defoniac Springs among other locals well inland in Florida(near the Alabama border).

This thing is poised to bomb-out offshore after departing the shores of Melbourne-Vero Beach!!!

Don't be surprised to wake up with over a foot of snow in Georgia and the Carolina's(I wouldn't rule out a few snow flurries for North Central Florida before it's all said and done)!!!
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http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=FLZ173&warncounty=FLC086&firewxzone=FLZ074&local_p lace1=Carol+City+FL&product1=Severe+Thunderstorm+Watch This forecast may become true.
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McComb,Miss Last Night.

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373. unf97
Yeah, SaintSimonsIsland Guy I decided to make Jesup my little road trip point today because Jesup is sitting right on the edge of where the accumulating snow will be over interior SE GA. I hope the 1 hr and 10 minute drive up here from my home on the north side of Jax will be of some worth later this evening .

I will keep you posted. Right now the rain has let up to very light sprinkles. The temperature reading 40.1 degrees here.
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Quoting Drakoen:


I only had you receiving a rain/snow mix where you live in Niceville, FL. If you live on the rain/snow line you aren't going to see big snowflakes. They will be wet and sparse.

I guess I should have driven to Crestview or something...was just hoping NWS's forecast would come through.
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Raining in WPB now. A few degrees too warm for snow though.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Sneaux in McComb,Miss around 11 pm Last night.

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Hey Drak,

Whats your take on this squall line approaching South Florida? Starting to look pretty menacing on radar right now, especially considering radial velocity estimates near hurricane force gusts in the thunderstorms.
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Look at buoy 42003 in the gulf E central gulf last report 29.54 winds @ 32K gusting to 41k. Might be a little intense somewhere in S. Fl. tonight.
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Quoting quakeman55:
I'm still hoping some type of precip develops on the southwest side of this thing...would like to see at least a few more flakes before all is said and done. I saw some, but they weren't the big beautiful ones others saw...

Drak, what happened? We were supposed to get much more than what we saw...


I only had you receiving a rain/snow mix where you live in Niceville, FL. If you live on the rain/snow line you aren't going to see big snowflakes. They will be wet and sparse.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
SEVERE WEATHER POSSIBLE



DBZ's approaching 60
which is severe storm or storms approaching


Note that small echo racing NE out ahead of the squall line. That really shows well how strong the low level jet preceding the squall line has become.
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362. unf97
St. Simons Island Guy,

I am currently here in Jesup, GA. I think Drak is right in that at least 1/2 to an inch of snow will fall here later this evening.
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SEVERE WEATHER POSSIBLE



DBZ's approaching 60
which is severe storm or storms approaching
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360. unf97
St. Simons Island Guy,

I am currently here in Jesup, GA. I think Dark uis right in that at least 1/2 to an inch of snow will fall here later this evening.
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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.