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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260. code1
Quoting gwhite713:
32 in Maryville, TN.All snow, all white, roads getting ..interesting =). That groundhog did see his shadow =)


Maryville is beautiful in the fall and spring!
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Flakes are flying as far north as Knoxville TN and as far south as dare i say it? Pensacola?=)!! Global warming? Telling it to the oranges! =) lol
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258. IKE
Quoting severstorm:
Way to go Ike. you got SNOW!!!!!!


It stuck to my hair and that's about it.
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Must-hear audio of press call with Dr. Jeff Masters and I on record snowstorms, extreme weather, and climate change science

NOTE: I am keenly interested in your thoughts on my answers (and Dr. Masters’).

Regular readers know what uber-meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters and I think about extreme weather and climate science [see "Massive moisture-driven extreme precipitation during warmest winter in the satellite record — and the deniers say it disproves (!) climate science"].

But what makes the call a must-hear is the window into the media’s thinking from the collective set of questions posed by the many journalists on this call:

Link to audio file
http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/12/jeff-masters-joseph-romm-on-record-snowstorms-extreme-weather -and-climate-change-science/
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256. code1
Someone posted this morning that if it snowed in FL, that would make snow in all 50 states? Was that true, or does anyone know?
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32 in Maryville, TN.All snow, all white, roads getting ..interesting =). That groundhog did see his shadow =)
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At 2:48 the temp was 45.4 in Tampa.

At 3:01 the temp is now 44.4.

Dropping pretty fast.
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Way to go Ike. you got SNOW!!!!!!
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HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK FOR SOUTH FLORIDA...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
253 PM EST FRI FEB 12 2010

FLZ063-066>075-168-172>174-131100-
GLADES-HENDRY-INLAND PALM BEACH-METRO PALM BEACH-COASTAL COLLIER-
INLAND COLLIER-INLAND BROWARD-METRO BROWARD-INLAND MIAMI DADE-
METRO MIAMI DADE-MAINLAND MONROE-COASTAL PALM BEACH-
COASTAL BROWARD-COASTAL MIAMI DADE-FAR SOUTH MIAMI DADE-
253 PM EST FRI FEB 12 2010

...SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH ALL OF SOUTH FLORIDA UNTIL 10 PM EST...
...DAMAGING WIND GUSTS OF 60-70 MPH POSSIBLE...
...GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FOR ALL WATERS UNTIL 7 AM EST SATURDAY...
...WIND ADVISORY ALL SOUTH FL UNTIL 9 PM EST...
...HIGH RISK OF RIP CURRENTS BOTH ATLANTIC AND GULF COASTS...

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.

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SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WS 17
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
235 PM EST FRI FEB 12 2010

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 17 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1000 PM EST
FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

FLC009-011-015-021-027-043-049-051-055-061-071-085-086-087-093-
097-099-111-130300-
/O.NEW.KWNS.SV.A.0017.100212T1935Z-100213T0300Z/

FL
. FLORIDA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

BREVARD BROWARD CHARLOTTE
COLLIER DESOTO GLADES
HARDEE HENDRY HIGHLANDS
INDIAN RIVER LEE MARTIN
MIAMI-DADE MONROE OKEECHOBEE
OSCEOLA PALM BEACH ST. LUCIE
$$
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
We had gusts near 50 mph in both St. Pete and Tampa.
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Severe thunderstorm watch for east central florida. Expect very gusty winds as the bands push through.
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247. code1
Hey Skye and C. FL folks, ya'll watch the winds. Looks like it will get hairy down there.
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There is snow in mossy head
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You would not believe how windy it is here!
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Snow mixed in for around 2 minutes
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243. IKE
Moderate snow and 36.5.
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242. Skyepony (Mod)
Line of storms is about to hit here..


Going to go enjoy the last of the 60+º weather
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241. code1
Quoting IKE:
SNOWING!

37 degrees with light snow!


Yayyy for you Ike! and for the C'view folks. Dang, I lived up there for years, south of 10 though, and never saw anything. It sleeted in FWB a couple Easter's ago and didn't up there. I'm jealous! Rain got thick for just a few seconds here, but nada on the beaches of Destin. Bah humbug! I would be screaming no, if I thought it would be a big one or last, but danged if I wouldn't like to see it fall now.
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The Hummer is considered "green" in Japan and if you buy one you get a little tax credit.

Link
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Moderate rain in millen ga with a temp of 39. The temp is steady dropping snow is coming I can feel it. If this changes into snow we are in for a surprise. Forecast still calling for 3 to 5 inches of snow. Winter storm warning still in effect until tomorrow at 6am.
Member Since: August 12, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
Quoting IKE:
SNOWING!

37 degrees with light snow!

im glad to hear u got some ike :)
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none in niceville yet
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Down to 38 on the beach and the drizzle just picked up to light rain...
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Nada in FWB:(
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Meh.

West Palm Beach, Florida (Airport)
Updated: 8 min 4 sec ago
Overcast
73 °F
Overcast
Humidity: 61%
Dew Point: 59 °F
Wind: 20 mph from the South
Wind Gust: 26 mph
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting IKE:


Rain...some sleet...I saw a couple of snow flakes a few minutes ago.
thankfully some heavy rain here e cen florida
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232. IKE
SNOWING!

37 degrees with light snow!
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Quoting mossyhead:
Ike, snow and sleet...no rain now here in mossy head.
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The University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 1 sec ago
45.4 °F
Heavy Rain

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Quoting mossyhead:
Ike, snow and sleet...no rain now here in mossy head.


Snow in P'cola!!!
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SNOW!!!!!

pictures soon
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Quoting IKE:


Rain...some sleet...I saw a couple of snow flakes a few minutes ago.
Ike, snow and sleet...no rain now here in mossy head.
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SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 17 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1000 PM EST
FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

FLC009-011-015-021-027-043-049-051-055-061-071-085-086-087-093-
097-099-111-130300-
/O.NEW.KWNS.SV.A.0017.100212T1935Z-100213T0300Z/

FL
. FLORIDA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

BREVARD BROWARD CHARLOTTE
COLLIER DESOTO GLADES
HARDEE HENDRY HIGHLANDS
INDIAN RIVER LEE MARTIN
MIAMI-DADE MONROE OKEECHOBEE
OSCEOLA PALM BEACH ST. LUCIE
$$
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The temperature in Tampa is dropping quickly. It's falling a tenth a degree every minute or so.

Down to 45.7
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Snowing heavy in Macon Georgia now. Temp went from 41.2*F at noon to 36.1*F at 1430 hrs. Not sticking yet but if the temp keeps dropping quickly it won't be long. :) Will take some photos before it gets dark.
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Snow mixing with rain now. Wont last long tho.
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Yep. Mary Esther and Hurlburt also down to 39 but the 58 degree water all around us isn't going to let the temp drop enough to snow until after the moisture moves out NE. I'm so upset...
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220. P451
Quoting mikester:
You know what scares me more then no snow in the northeast? This past summer i had 2 tornadoes pass with 30mins of my house. I am afraid that will happen this year but could be even closer to my house. Friggin tornadoes in nystate.


I think at the tail end of this winter, March perhaps, the North east will get one good 4 week shot of storms. Remember, almost all patterns last about 4-6 weeks.

We had 4-6 weeks of mid atlantic hell in December. Then we had 4-6 weeks of warm up in January. Now we got 4-6 weeks of hell in February.

(Of course, I'm saying 4-6 weeks, to illustrate the point, that patterns last about that time. This season they've been on order of 3-4 weeks, and that's abnormally low)

I think March will push into southern New england.


Now, here is my worry. As El Nino wanes and La Nina takes shape - We could be in for one hell of a dry and hot summer in the Mid-Atlantic, North East, South Eastern Canada.

We don't need that. That's never fun.

For the record since the end of March 2009 I have been very wet and very cool here in Central NJ overall. We really need an end to this but being where i live we never get an average period of weather.

It's always extreme and I bet we go right into hot and dry this late May early June.

I don't want to see that. The tomatoes and Peppers might like it but I don't.
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Snowflakes in Cantonment, Fl...just north of Hwy 90.

Yeeeeeeaaaaaay!
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218. IKE
Quoting quakeman55:
IKE, how is it up your way?


Rain...some sleet...I saw a couple of snow flakes a few minutes ago.
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The mixing line seems to be going north considering about 2 hours ago.



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temps are dropping again in Niceville from 41.4 to 39.2 and still raining. Does not look like the rain will stick around long enough even if temps drop fast. anyone see the same thing? Sure hope i'm wrong!!
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215. pcola
It's snowing in Warrington near Pensacola!
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Quoting literacycoach:

I'm a teacher, and I don't have my camera with me....we just released the students!


aaarrrggggghhhh! :)
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This winter is very much like the 77 thru 79 winters. Lots of moisture and colder than average... Especially for the southern 2/3 of the nation.. I'm in southeastern TN and last night there wasnt a flake forecasted to a winter advisory of up to 3 inches now predicted. Moderate snow here now,but steady. Started an hour ago, have maybe a quarter inch on the ground..
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I'm a teacher, and I don't have my camera with me....we just released the students!
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St. Petersburg / Clea
Lat: 27.91 Lon: -82.69 Elev: 10
Last Update on Feb 12, 1:53 pm EST


Heavy Rain Fog/Mist Squalls and Windy

51 °F
(11 °C) Humidity: 89 %
Wind Speed: NW 26 G 35 MPH
Barometer: 29.70" (1005.8 mb)
Dewpoint: 48 °F (9 °C)
Wind Chill: 44 °F (7 °C)
Visibility: 1.75 mi.
More Local Wx: 3 Day History:


Since the 1:53 report it has now dropped to 44 here, it is going to get much colder than forecast


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Quoting PcolaDan:


Waiting for the pictures. :)
Snow off and on 8 miles west of defuniak springs(us hwy 90)
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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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