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

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

Share this Blog
7
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 210 - 160

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Quoting PcolaDan:


Waiting for the pictures. :)
Snow off and on 8 miles west of defuniak springs(us hwy 90)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting literacycoach:
It's SNOWING in Crestview!!!


Waiting for the pictures. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
IKE, how is it up your way?
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
Temp starting to go back down again...whew. Hopefully we're on the right track this time.
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
Yeah huh, does too!! It may not physically bite but it does metaphysically bite!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
The ONLY place ice belongs
is in your drink!

CRS
AAAAAMEN!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


But i didnt think they were thinking the temps will rise b/c of the warm air lift.. but hey its hard to predict snow down here.. it is what it is.. we just got to move on and c whats next..


Hehe...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NttyGrtty:


Wish away...far away...please! I hear the rocky mountains is a great place for snow and pretty much a zero chance of ludacrous, non-responsive hurricanes. Still cold drizzle here, but in the true spirit of brotherly love, I HOPE everyone who wants snow gets it
you know doesn't bite don't you.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
Well, for a change I'm happy with where I am. Forget the name, I'm not in Pensacola anymore. I live in very South Florida (Homestead). And it isn't raining, snowing, thunderstorming, or so [delete explitive] hot it cooks your brain. I had very pleasant run a few hours ago, in the low seventies and just a bit windy.

I figure I deserve it after all the heat and constant thunderstorms. My house got hit by lightning the day before Thanksgiving, for crying out loud. Have fun with the snow and cold, you all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Gotta be getting close to tropical storm winds soon.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
The University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 0 sec ago
49.5 °F
Rain
Windchill: 43 °F
Humidity: 93%
Dew Point: 48 °F
Wind: 17.0 mphfrom the NW
Wind Gust: 48.0 mph

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Torrential sideways rain and just had a wind gust to 51 here in pinellas county, I knew this low would be stronger than forecast! So much for light to moderate showers! ahaha

heard a rumble of thunder too! and the temp dropped from 52 to 47 degrees now, powerful cold wind mixed with heavy downpours, man talk about horrible weather to be out in!

we are having ourselves a sou' easter!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxLogic:
Good afternoon... so close yet so far.

Interesting to note that the GFS runs didn't quite buy into a good snow event in the Panhandle, except for a couple flurries here and there, but definitely agreed with snow N of the Panhandle. NAM was being a bit too aggressive on the snow intensity and coverage across the Panhandle.

Little sneak peak at some wintry mix/snow next week (not as widespread as last time) across the Panhandle and NCFL to CFL if it gets cold enough behind this developing low system today (Specially being enhanced by snow accumulations in N LA, MS, and AL via CAA):

Panhandle:


NCFL / CFL:




But i didnt think they were thinking the temps will rise b/c of the warm air lift.. but hey its hard to predict snow down here.. it is what it is.. we just got to move on and c whats next..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's SNOWING in Crestview!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We will get some snow but only in the snow belt regions of nystate. Basically if you live at or above syracuse look out it could get messy this weekend. Everyone else is looking at 1-2" that is about it.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
Good afternoon... so close yet so far.

Interesting to note that the GFS runs didn't quite buy into a good snow event in the Panhandle, except for a couple flurries here and there, but definitely agreed with snow N of the Panhandle. NAM was being a bit too aggressive on the snow intensity and coverage across the Panhandle.

Little sneak peak at some wintry mix/snow next week (not as widespread as last time) across the Panhandle and NCFL to CFL if it gets cold enough behind this developing low system today (Specially being enhanced by snow accumulations in N LA, MS, and AL via CAA):

Panhandle:


NCFL / CFL:


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow! Here in Tampa/St. Pete we are getting some strong storms!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
192. MTWX
Done snowing here. Only snowed about an hour... no accumulations..:(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
north east will get more from Saturday thru tues
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like it may be drying up rather quickly.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ATCr:


It appears though the dry air on the west side is erroding the precip rather rapidly...probably no more accumulation, at least down south.


ya i would agree with ya.. it would b awesome some moisture develops.. but i doubt it..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Only hope for snow and this is what we get!
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
187. ATCr
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:
Nowcast as of 12:43 PM CST on February 12, 2010

Now
By early afternoon and based on local observations the rain snow line was very near...or just south of...the I-10 corridor in Alabama. In the extreme northwest Florida Panhandle counties...the rain snow line was further north of I-10. This line will gradually sink southward as cold air comes in from the west. Most locales in northwest Florida will see snow this afternoon but accumulations of less than 1.5 inches will be confined to the interior portions of these counties. Elsewhere one to two additional inches of snowfall may occur over the interior Alabama counties east of I-65. Snow will end from the northwest...west of the I-65 corridor.

heres sum more info!!


It appears though the dry air on the west side is erroding the precip rather rapidly...probably no more accumulation, at least down south.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The Crestview line holds once again...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
booooo hisssss


most of the panhandle went from winter storm warning to winter storm watch..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
booooo hisssss
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Same cold drizzle here holding at 41 degrees...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The northeast on the other hand need the snow and thanks to the currents/jet stream it ain't gonna happen.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
Quoting mikester:
Small storm will hit mid atlantic this monday-tuesday. Then it looks pretty clear for the rest of the week. Still mid-atlantic states don't need anymore snow this year.


yea they dont need anymore..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Small storm will hit mid atlantic this monday-tuesday. Then it looks pretty clear for the rest of the week. Still mid-atlantic states don't need anymore snow this year.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
Nowcast as of 12:43 PM CST on February 12, 2010

Now
By early afternoon and based on local observations the rain snow line was very near...or just south of...the I-10 corridor in Alabama. In the extreme northwest Florida Panhandle counties...the rain snow line was further north of I-10. This line will gradually sink southward as cold air comes in from the west. Most locales in northwest Florida will see snow this afternoon but accumulations of less than 1.5 inches will be confined to the interior portions of these counties. Elsewhere one to two additional inches of snowfall may occur over the interior Alabama counties east of I-65. Snow will end from the northwest...west of the I-65 corridor.

heres sum more info!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ive been looking at sum models.. and there might b another chance for sleet/snow monday night into tuesday am.. near the south.. but looking ahead of time there will be strong storms next few weeks as possible.. And of course the models agreeing with more cold weather to continue to the end of february as of now.. shall be interesting.. there might b chance the mid atlantic and the new england states might c another snow storm or 2 with in couple of weeks.. thats what i gather so far.. could change from time to time..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yeah you guys in tampa are gonna get hit hard with alot of rain and wind.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
Holy smokes... it's pouring here. This is the hardest rain I have seen since last summer's thunderstorms.... blowing in hard
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
175. code1
LOL and thanks. Gotcha! Hey, I do have a few golf umbrellas that I would personally hold over your house if the white stuff were to fall. ;-)
Rain has started back up here, how about over there? Take care!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I would love to see that happen up here snow? Heck i got a few flakes that is about it. Might get some lake effect but that won't help us much.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
Quoting code1:
Okay then. I wish it not to snow over your abode. Satisfied? For the rest of us wishing to see it along the beaches, and coastal areas? I wish for it to fall on us only! Your hurricane statement was just ludicrous. Not even worth a response.


Wish away...far away...please! I hear the rocky mountains is a great place for snow and pretty much a zero chance of ludacrous, non-responsive hurricanes. Still cold drizzle here, but in the true spirit of brotherly love, I HOPE everyone who wants snow gets it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Strong storms for Tampa and St. Pete.

Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Local met now has me under 3-6+. Too bad they don't sell snow shovels around here....
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1462
Looks like the shield is starting to pull to the north. Any indication that the L is starting to pull north?
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1462
just started snowing here in atlanta.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
well to the wsw of mobile looks like it is breaking up.. looks like we got a halo over the panhandle of FL lol.. still goin to get cold tonight.. atleast most of alabama got snow out of this and sum others in the south.. but theres sum chance to c sum flakes at best for us in the panhandle.. theres always next time the way this weather is goin..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
167. code1
Okay then. I wish it not to snow over your abode. Satisfied? For the rest of us wishing to see it along the beaches, and coastal areas? I wish for it to fall on us only! Your hurricane statement was just ludicrous. Not even worth a response.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ooops, left out a major word...NOT, between negative and towards you. I'm NOT negative towards anyone, just don't like snow...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wish Drak was here...could use some good analysis from him...
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
Quoting tiggeriffic:


and the fact that there is no removal equipment here or salt trucks...and charleston is nothing but little islands all connected by bridges...most of them metal...we both know what that adds up to....just glad my fridge is full, i have gas heat, water heater and stove...our power lines aren't equiped for ice and snow...


Youre right Tigger. The fact that areas down South aren't prepared for weather like this makes a slight accumulation difficult to handle. I saw 11in in Dallas. That will probably shut them down for at least three days. That's a walk in the park up north.

Glad to hear you are stocked and prepped. Enjoy the weather and take care.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting code1:


Geez, don't see anyone disagreeing with you that it most likely won't happen, but, do you have to be so negative towards others wishing it would? You are definitely in the minority of posters here right now not wanting to see it. Live and let live!


LOL!!! I'm negative towards YOU, I'm negative towards SNOW. I live on the beach for a lot of reasons, a major one being it doesn't snow here. I don't wish my hurricanes on anyone so please don't wish their snow on me...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jeff9641:


Heavier rain to your west with rates of 2 to 3" an hour. I think our low is near that convection because the winds are picking up in Orlando and the rain is coming down. I think we are going to get a good 1.5 to 2.5" of rain here north of Orlando.


Nah, looks like the worst is still yet to come... the low appears to be centered SSE of Mobile (!)... gonna run a little further south than predicted... We central Floridians are due for a soaking...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sdcbassman:


I spent plenty of time in Meadeville. So I know what it's like up there. Very true about people that dont know how to drive in the white stuff.


and the fact that there is no removal equipment here or salt trucks...and charleston is nothing but little islands all connected by bridges...most of them metal...we both know what that adds up to....just glad my fridge is full, i have gas heat, water heater and stove...our power lines aren't equiped for ice and snow...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 210 - 160

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Light Rain
42 °F
Light Rain Mist

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron