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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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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Well, not really "southwest," but western side of this system...there were some light echoes over southeast MS not long ago...
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
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...
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
South Florida Weather Alert

Currently, South Florida is under a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH through 10PM tonight. And I have to say that that was the correct call based upon current radar and satellite imagery. Over the past few hours, a developing squall line has been gathering strength as it surges eastward towards South Florida. As the radar imagery below shows, the intensity of the thunderstorms forming the squall line has really increased as a strong low level jet has become well establish and moisture has been rapidly increasing ahead of the line. Based on current observations, it appears that the main threat with this squall line will be damaging winds nearing 70 mph and torrential downpours. Right now, there doesn't appear any noteworthy tornado threat, although theres always that slight chance one could form given ideal conditions. In analyzing radar imagery, this squall line will be impacting SW Florida over the next three to four hours while the squall line should begin impacting SE Florida in the next hour or so. It would be best to remain indoors while the squall line moves through since conditions will become hazardous for any outdoor plans and even driving.

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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:


Uh, would anyone but a woman "interrupt" the Blog to post that Drew Brees is on Oprah?

LMAO!!!
:-D
Member Since: August 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 249
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
349. ROFLMAO!!

Accounting for a 7 min. gap in blog -- many males used the TV remote!!!
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Quoting gwhite713:
ski rim Hawii

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Mauna-Kea/photos/534


Gorgeous shot... on my desktop as wallpaper...
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Its SNOWING In millen ga about 50 miles south of augusta. Yay us been awhile.
Member Since: August 12, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Is that a picture of Peyton after the game??
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Pls. excuse me for posting off-topic...
Drew Brees is on Oprah...
WHO DAT!??!

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ski rim Hawii

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Mauna-Kea/photos/534
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 93
So Biloxi got a few flakes out of this system...kinda like Dec 04. Guess we will need to wait another 5 years for any more snow.
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It started snowing here in Lexington SC at 3:40 as of right now starting to stick to the grass and deck areas.

Road are just wet right now.

Best of luck to you guys on the coast and south of us.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
You think we'll get some snow this evening after 9 p.m. Drak? I'm hoping some diurnal cooling will help the snow line work further south in the evening.


Yes. I just took a look at the RUC, NAM, and NMM which suggest a rain/snow mix should start after 8 or 9pm. The 850mb-700mb thickness is showing a melting layer and a freezing planetary boundary layer suggesting precipitation would fall as rain and the freeze in the 1000mb-850mb layer. Your to over come the isentropic warming but soundings suggest a complete change over to snow after midnight where progs show a complete subfreezing layer. I'm forecasting for an inch or less of snow for you.
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Quoting Creamtea:
So... Any women here?


Uh, would anyone but a woman "interrupt" the Blog to post that Drew Brees is on Oprah?
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Quoting StormChaser81:


The mixing line has dove south and might dive a little bit more. The snow line is moving very rapidly across the FL panhandle.


Trace amounts of snow will be possible towards Tallahassee around 7pm when we get some more surface cooling.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Pls. excuse me for posting off-topic...
Drew Brees is on Oprah...
WHO DAT!??!


Not Peyton Manning....ooopss.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
You think we'll get some snow this evening after 9 p.m. Drak? I'm hoping some diurnal cooling will help the snow line work further south in the evening.


The problem is there is a huge gap in the precip where the snow line is. Just south of the snow line there is barely any precip.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Pls. excuse me for posting off-topic...
Drew Brees is on Oprah...
WHO DAT!??!
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Quoting hurricane23:


Gulp, Adrian, :(.
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Should be a nasty squall line by the time it reaches the SE peninsula.


The mixing line has dove south and might dive a little bit more. The snow line is moving very rapidly across the FL panhandle.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Radar is showing decent snow bands working there way into Columbus eastwards towards Macon and Augusta.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
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Norfolk, VA forcast for tonight

Winter Weather Advisory in effect from 10 PM this evening to
10 am EST Saturday...

The National Weather Service in Wakefield has issued a Winter
Weather Advisory for accumulating snow... which is in effect from
10 PM this evening to 10 am EST Saturday.

Light snow is expected to develop late this evening... and will
pick up in intensity after midnight. The snow is expected to
taper off to scattered snow showers or flurries shortly after
daybreak Saturday. A total snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches is
expected... with the highest amounts expected farther south close to
the Virginia... North Carolina border.Precautionary/preparedness
actions...

A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means that periods of snow
will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow
covered roads and limited visibilities... and use caution while
driving.
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 93
I'M DREAMING OF A WHITE FEBRUARY...

34 Degrees, Good Sized Flakes, and it's only begun.
I'm Loving my first Georgia Winter.
(Thomson, just west of Augusta)
(Where it wasn't suppose to snow...LOL)
But now I'm getting homesick for Wisconsin...LOL
Though it IS Beautiful.
We all have to admit that!
And once the Poodle knows 'it's soft' she/he should love it too.
Member Since: July 10, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 667
Check it out!

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Snow in Hawaii?

How about Skiing in Hawaii!
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Wellington, FL

Pressure: 29.55 in (1001mb) (Falling)

74.6 degrees, 62 degree dew point
Quoting gwhite713:
32 in Maryville, TN.All snow, all white, roads getting ..interesting =). That groundhog did see his shadow =)


That dirty rat needs a talking to...
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Already come and gone in Pensacola. My pics and vids post 265.


Yup radar imagery just showed it pass east around 20:30 utc
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318. code1
Quoting NttyGrtty:
I'm out. Gonna go brave the hazards of the drive home on hwy 98. Code, nothing personal, I just REALLY don't like snow...thanks for the golf umbrellas, they worked. Div, glad you got your snow...more glad I didn't. I'm back to lurking...it's more interesting and much more productive.


It's fine! All good here. Glad you enjoyed the umbrellas!
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 66 Comments: 13872
317. code1
Sad news from the Olympics prior to opening ceremonies.
Link
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 66 Comments: 13872
316. IKE
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
then its gone


:(
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
I'm out. Gonna go brave the hazards of the drive home on hwy 98. Code, nothing personal, I just REALLY don't like snow...thanks for the golf umbrellas, they worked. Div, glad you got your snow...more glad I didn't. I'm back to lurking...it's more interesting and much more productive.
Member Since: February 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 872
Quoting Drakoen:
Radar imagery and surface observations indicate that snow is falling across central Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the western panhandle of Florida. The rain/snow line has dropped down to near Pensacola. Portions of central Alabama and Georgia 2-4 inches with local high amounts in the swath near Montgomery and along the I-85 eastward towards Macon and Atlanta. My forecast is in agreement with the GFS as the NAM is too robust with the snowfall totals and illogical to present conditions. Down towards the Alabama/Florida border expecting 1-3 inches. Over the panhandle of Florida 1 to possibly 2 inches around the northern sections close to the Alabama/Florida border. And up to an inch or less around of I-10. Radar imagery is showing the western extent of the snow mainly as virga. The frontogenesis region is shifting eastward with the focus primarily on Alabama and Georgia especially central sections of these states within the snow growth region.


Already come and gone in Pensacola. My pics and vids post 265.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Squall Line Beefing Up.

Keeper, the storm for monday is a different storm.This one should'nt have even made it to even VA.but it appears it is..
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 93
Quoting IKE:
Really coming down. Looks like it's going to be letting up within 30 minutes.
then its gone
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Radar imagery and surface observations indicate that snow is falling across central Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the western panhandle of Florida. The rain/snow line has dropped down to near Pensacola. Portions of central Alabama and Georgia 2-4 inches with local high amounts in the swath near Montgomery and along the I-85 eastward towards Macon and Atlanta. My forecast is in agreement with the GFS as the NAM is too robust with the snowfall totals and illogical to present conditions. Down towards the Alabama/Florida border expecting 1-3 inches. Over the panhandle of Florida 1 to possibly 2 inches around the northern sections close to the Alabama/Florida border. And up to an inch or less around of I-10. Radar imagery is showing the western extent of the snow mainly as virga. The frontogenesis region is shifting eastward with the focus primarily on Alabama and Georgia especially central sections of these states within the snow growth region.
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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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