The United States of Snow

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:51 PM GMT on February 13, 2010

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We live in the United States of Snow. A rare Deep South heavy snowstorm whipped across the southern tier of states yesterday, dumping six-plus inches of snow over portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Even Florida got into the act, with up to two inches recorded in the extreme northwestern Panhandle. The snowstorm left 49 of the 50 states with snow cover, according to an article by Associated Press. Hawaii was the lone hold-out. David Robinson, head of the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, said that 67.1% of the U.S. had snow cover on Friday morning, with the average depth a respectable 8 inches. Normally, the U.S. has about 40 - 50% snow coverage during the 2nd week of February. January had the 6th greatest snow cover in the 44-year record over the contiguous U.S., and December 2009 had the most snow cover of any December on record. The current pattern of record heavy snows over the the Eastern U.S. is primarily due to a natural oscillation in the Earth's climate system called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). (Some prefer to discuss this in terms of the Arctic Oscillation, which is as a close cousin of the NAO, and one can use either). I discussed the NAO's influence on winter weather in a post last month. Another contributing factor is probably the current moderate El NiƱo event.

An all-time record snow for Dallas
The most recent storm clobbered Dallas with 12.5" of snow, the heaviest snow on record for the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Dallas' previous record was 7.4", set on January 15 - 16, 1964. The 15.7" 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. The snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow along a narrow region just north of Dallas and Fort Worth, with the towns of Haslet and Duncanville receiving 14.2" and 14.9", respectively.


Figure 1. Dallas' all-time record snowfall made for an un-inviting swim at this pool in nearby Flower Mound. Image credit: wunderphotographer texasdog.

A few selected snow amounts from the storm, courtesy of the National Weather Service:

...NORTH CAROLINA ...
HARKERS ISLAND 3.2 NE 8.8
HAVELOCK 2.7 S 8.5
BEAUFORT 7.0
NEWPORT 7.0
SEA LEVEL 7.0
OUTLAND 4 S 6.8
WINTERVILLE 3.5 W 6.4
CAPE CARTERET 6.2
BETTIE 6.0
BURGAW 6.0
JACKSONVILLE 6.0
MOREHEAD CITY 6.0
GREENVILLE 5.8

...ALABAMA...
BELLEVILLE 6.0
BRANTLEY 5.0
EVERGREEN 5 N 5.0
THOMASVILLE 5.0
EUFAULA 4 S 4.5
LOTTIE 4.5
MONROEVILLE 0.6 SSW 4.1
ARITON 4.0
PINSON 4.0
RAMER 4.0
TROY 4.0
WARD 4.0

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

...FLORIDA...
BERRYDALE 2.0
MUNSON 2.0
JAY 1.0

...GEORGIA...
LUMPKIN 6.0
WASHINGTON 1.9 NE 5.8
LOGANVILLE 4 SSE 5.3
NICHOLSON 4.9 SE 4.8
ATHENS 3.2 NW 4.6
LA GRANGE 10.6 ESE 4.5
WATKINSVILLE 1.6 ENE 4.4
ROCKMART 9.6 SSE 4.3
TALBOTTON 4.0
HAMILTON 5 W 3.5
VILLA RICA 3.5
SENOIA 2 N 3.0
DACULA 2.5
CUTHBERT 2.0
MACON 2.0
ROME 2.0

...LOUISIANA...
SHREVEPORT 9.1 SE 6.1
NATCHITOCHES 0.9 NE 6.0
SHONGALOO 5 N 6.0
SICILY ISLAND 3.3 WNW 6.0
GOLDONNA 8.8 SSW 5.6
MONROE 5.0
PLAIN DEALING 3.3 ESE 5.0
HOMER 1.2 N 3.7
WEST MONROE 6.1 WSW 3.5

...MISSISSIPPI...
DE KALB 8.0
BUDE 6.5
VICKSBURG 6.3
BROOKHAVEN 6.0
NATCHEZ 6.0
PETAL 6.0
BRANDON 5.0
CATAHOULA 5.0
MADISON 5.0
BRANDON 1.9 NE 4.6
MERIDIAN 4.5
MCCALL CREEK 5 W 4.0

...OKLAHOMA...
HAWORTH 4 SW 7.5
IDABEL 8 SE 7.5

...SOUTH CAROLINA...
SUMMERVILLE 3.8 NE 8.2
COLUMBIA 7.3
BAMBERG 7.0
BOWMAN 7.0
EVANS 1 SE 7.0
LEXINGTON 1.6 WNW 7.0
OAK GROVE 1 SE 7.0
OATLAND 8 N 7.0
SMOAKS 7.0
HEMINGWAY 6.8
SANGAREE 6.5
ORANGEBURG 6.0
DARLINGTON 5.0
BLYTHE 4.0
CHARLESTON 3.3
BEAUFORT 3.0

...TEXAS...
DUNCANVILLE 1.7 NNW 14.9
HASLET 14.2
FORT WORTH 12.6
DALLAS 12.5
MANSFIELD 2.6 NNE 12.2
BRIDGEPORT 12.0
ROYSE CITY 12.0
SANGER 1.8 WSW 12.0
MESQUITE 3.3 ESE 11.4
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS 1.9 NE 11.3

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, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina that received 6+ inches of snow 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
I made this point in yesterday's blog post, but it's worth repeating. Another interesting result from the Changnon et al. (2006) paper of 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 than in 1901 - 2000. So, there is evidence that the average climate of the U.S. over the past 100 years is colder than optimal for heavy snow events to occur. If the climate continues to warm, we should expect an increase in heavy snow events for a few decades, until the climate grows so warm that we pass the point where winter temperatures are at the optimum for heavy snow events. However, a study by Houston and Changnon (2009) on the most severe types of snowstorms--the "top ten" heaviest snows on record for each of 121 major U.S. cities--shows no upward or downward trend in the very heaviest snowstorms for the contiguous U.S. between 1948 - 2001.

A new snowstorm for the mid-Atlantic and New York City on Monday
The extreme amounts of snow on the ground in the Mid-Atlantic thanks to back-to-back blizzards over the past week will get a fresh layer on top Monday night, when a new snowstorm will probably dump another 3 - 6 inches of snow on Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The new storm is called an "Alberta Clipper", due to its fast motion and genesis location in Canada's Alberta Province. These storms are relatively dry and tend to bring lighter, fluffier snow. Once the Clipper moves out over the Atlantic off the coast of Maryland, it will pick up some Atlantic moisture and bring some heavier snows to the New York City region, potentially 6 - 10 inches.

Media coverage by the Washington Post
I did a phone-in press call with 20 media outlets on Thursday, to discuss how record snowstorms do not imply that global warming is not occurring. Participating on the call with me was Dr. Joe Romm, who blogs on climate-related issues for climateprogress.org. The audio is posted there if you want to listen.

The Washington Post highlighted a portion of the call where I said, "there's a huge amount of natural variability in the climate system", not enough years of measurements to know exactly what's going on, and "Unfortunately we don't have that data so we are forced to make decisions based on inadequate data." The article said that my statements shot down the statement by Joe Romm that "the overwhelming weight of the scientific literature" points to human-caused warming and that doubters "don't understand the science." Let me clarify that there will always be considerable uncertainty in our understanding of a chaotic system like the atmosphere. We should not demand certainty where it cannot exist, always using uncertainty as an excuse for taking no action. Keep in mind that the uncertainty goes both ways--climate change could be far worse than the IPCC is predicting, and it would be wise to buy an intelligent amount of insurance to protect ourselves. I agree with Dr. Romm's statement, and the official Statement on Climate Change from the American Meteorological Society, "Despite the uncertainties...there is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond." The official statement from the UK Royal Society and UK Met Office is also one I agree with, "The 2007 IPCC Assessment, the most comprehensive and respected analysis of climate change to date, states clearly that without substantial global reductions of greenhouse gas emissions we can likely expect a world of increasing droughts, floods and species loss, of rising seas and displaced human populations. However even since the 2007 IPCC Assessment the evidence for dangerous, long-term and potentially irreversible climate change has strengthened. The scientific evidence which underpins calls for action at Copenhagen is very strong. Without coordinated international action on greenhouse gas emissions, the impacts on climate and civilization could be severe.".

Next post
Looks like the winter onslaught will slow down for a day, so I'll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

overton texas 2/12/10 (dinkasu)
Biggest snowman eastexas
overton texas 2/12/10
Snow - 2.13.10 Palm Trees (ruralart)
Palm trees in the snow, Cheraw, SC
Snow - 2.13.10 Palm Trees
Snowy Palms (nuq)
Snowy Palms

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Sydney braces for flash flooding


Sydney-siders should be prepared for more possible flash flooding tonight as thunderstorms move across New South Wales.

The Bureau of Meteorology says a rain band will cross from the north-west of the state to the south-east, bringing falls of up to 100 millimetres in some areas and possible flash flooding.

Forecaster Chris Webb says tonight Sydney could be inundated like it was on Friday.

"There's still an element of doubt about it, but we think there there's the risk of later on today, particularly late afternoon and evening, some localised thunderstorms and maybe some heavy rainfall associated with those," he said.

"So we're just keeping an eye out for some local flooding late today in Sydney."

The State Emergency Service says it received 29 calls for help across New South Wales last night.

- ABC
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Deluge brings flash flooding to NSW


There has been flash flooding in western New South Wales following heavy rainfall over the weekend.

In the state's far west, falls of up to 120 millimetres were recorded overnight, and the central west has also had heavy rain.

SES spokesman Phil Campbell says he has responded to about 40 calls for help in the Lachlan district around Parkes and Forbes.

"There has been a request for the SES regarding a house with around 60 centimetres of water through it about 20 kilometres from Condobolin," he said.

"The SES has also undertaken near Forbes the rescue of a person from a motor vehicle caught in floodwaters."

Far west region controller for the SES, Graham Craig, says two groups of people are currently being evacuated from two properties between White Cliffs and Wilcannia.

"We're relocating two groups of people. We've got one family of five that are being relocated from a property that's incurred some water damage to another property nearby also owned by them," he said.

"The other group of people is a group of four workmen that have been isolated on a property they were working on and they'll be taken to a nearby town."

Meanwhile, in Canberra, heavy rain has finally eased off, but the Bureau of Meteorology says there is still a minor flood warning for the Molonglo River.

- ABC
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
STS-130 live stream here
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
snow accumulating like that on the beaches from South Carolina down through the Gulf Coast is extremely unusual.
I wonder what will happen to those plants.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
136. Skyepony (Mod)
Cloudsat just left of center of RENE.
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135. xcool
snow kind fun .does anyone what year use for 2010 hurricane ???? email
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
You see xcool I drove up to Elizabethtown KY in a snow storm on Monday the 9th... Then drove back to Mobile in a snow storm yesterday so they can have it for real.... LOL
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133. xcool
lol
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
Quoting xcool:
NEW ORLEANS OR M.S


Ok Good I'm not mad at all after being in E-Town Kentuckyand snow for a week.... They can have it for sure....

Taco :0)
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131. xcool
NEW ORLEANS OR M.S
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
Quoting xcool:
more snow may be on the way to L.A

Now do you mean Lower Alabama or Louisiana

minds are wondering????
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Quoting Patrap:
Sneaux in McComb,Miss around 11 pm Thursday night.

I finally got to make an Angel in da Sneaux




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128. XLR8
Yard is a mess now....I have had my fill of snow now no more for Mississippi please :)
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the triple tone
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126. XLR8
Check out my photos got some up of the snow on 02/12/10 in Fannin, MS
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125. xcool
more snow may be on the way to L.A
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
snow accumulating like that on the beaches from South Carolina down through the Gulf Coast is extremely unusual.
yeah has to do with the prevailing storm track but that slowly starts to change starting 11 to 13 days from now
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Sneaux in McComb,Miss around 11 pm Thursday night.

I finally got to make an Angel in da Sneaux

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Is this photo from the Dr's blog unusual, or does it normally snow so close to large bodies of water?

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
be careful with that it could be fatal for your system
if you click on anything that says ok or cancel it downloads and destroys your system files to make operating system useless
i know it has happen to me back in aug sept had to do a reformat and complete factory reset to get rid of it
offline for over 36 hrs tryin to figure out what went wrong did a complete wipe in the end lost all my links and data i now have backups of my links but the data was lost forever
also have complete protection from bell sympatico sercurity services all options for extra protection nothing gets in now nothing or no one

I have all my links and data copied to a usb thumb drive. I have my HD partitioned, I have a 20GB HD which I run Windows from, I do a weekly back up to another 880GB HD. I would be lost if I lost my links.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Lombardi Gras,NOLA Parade Weekend here

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Ossqss

ya i also have a pc doctor bootable recovery cd with all links and my tropical blog and winter blog html code on that backup as well


Your way ahead of the game as usual keeper :)

It is time for a Tall cool one and time to lighten up a bit EH! Have a good one all! L8R

Time for the Olympics for me >>>>>

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Ossqss

ya i also have a pc doctor bootable recovery cd with all links and my tropical blog and winter blog html code on that backup as well
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Walshy:
Ski resorts in North Carolina must be loving all this snow.

Appalachian Ski Mtn, North Carolina
Base Snow: 82 - 116"


With more snow Sunday PM up to half a foot and another area of interest in the GOM next weekend.


Wonder when they last had so much. Looks like you took your avatar in the last storm there. :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Ski resorts in North Carolina must be loving all this snow.

Appalachian Ski Mtn, North Carolina
Base Snow: 82 - 116"


With more snow Sunday PM up to half a foot and another area of interest in the GOM next weekend.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
be careful with that it could be fatal for your system
if you click on anything that says ok or cancel it downloads and destroys your system files to make operating system useless
i know it has happen to me back in aug sept had to do a reformat and complete factory reset to get rid of it
offline for over 36 hrs tryin to figure out what went wrong did a complete wipe in the end lost all my links and data i now have backups of my links but the data was lost forever
also have complete protection from bell sympatico sercurity services all options for extra protection nothing gets in now nothing or no one


Words of wisdom. Always back up your data and export your favorites to a file. Many forget those links that they commonly use. I would offer this also. I maintain an external drive case (2.5" and 3.5" -- $10 for the 2.5"-- Ebay). If I have a problem, I can pull the drive and use it as a USB drive via another PC. I can scan it accordingly as such for problems. Clean it and put it back. That does not work for everything, but has worked in the past. Just my take... :)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
I just noticed something, one time on WeatherUnderground and once on Accuweather, that after typing in the address I'm led to a Computer Online Scan website that falsely claims that your computer is infected.
be careful with that it could be fatal for your system
if you click on anything that says ok or cancel it downloads and destroys your system files to make operating system useless
i know it has happen to me back in aug sept had to do a reformat and complete factory reset to get rid of it
offline for over 36 hrs tryin to figure out what went wrong did a complete wipe in the end lost all my links and data i now have backups of my links but the data was lost forever
also have complete protection from bell sympatico sercurity services all options for extra protection nothing gets in now nothing or no one
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
101:

I doubt it could be already on the computer, because it was from two different weather websites on two different computers (at different locations).


Just in case, you might want to check this.

http://www.2-spyware.com/remove-antivirus-2008-xp.html
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So much for sticking to the subject proposed at the intro.
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Last 7 days cumulative snowfall for Penn. Interesting how east and west of the mountainous center of that state have much higher totals than the middle...



Ehh, I guess the western high snow totals did fall on the western parts of the mountains.

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Last 7 days' snowfall, cumulative:

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101:

I doubt it could be already on the computer, because it was from two different weather websites on two different computers (at different locations).
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
I just noticed something, one time on WeatherUnderground and once on Accuweather, that after typing in the address I'm led to a Computer Online Scan website that falsely claims that your computer is infected.



Hopefully you did not click on anything on the popup. That could be a problem.

Hopefully, your AV is up to date.

That potentially malicious item can do great harm.

Many times those load a Trojan loader, which funnels problems to your PC. Get busy with your AV or go to a site like Symantec.com and do an online free scan.



Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
102. xcool
hijackthis best
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
I just noticed something, one time on WeatherUnderground and once on Accuweather, that after typing in the address I'm led to a Computer Online Scan website that falsely claims that your computer is infected.

If there is any possibility that banner ads are hijacking your intended URL, the firefox add on Ad Block Plus would thoroughly stop any ad from loading, much less doing anything.

(This doesn't apply if you are a paid member and, thus, immune from ads.)

If spyware/malware already on your machine is doing it, hijackthis ought to find it and fix. (be very careful with this, it WILL delete what you tell it to, even if a OS reinstall is required as the end result to put back what you should not have deleted...not for the novice user...a little scary for most advanced users.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I just noticed something, one time on WeatherUnderground and once on Accuweather, that after typing in the address I'm led to a Computer Online Scan website that falsely claims that your computer is infected.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting msphar:
So what is this coming hurricane season gonna produce. My concern is for the Cape Verde storms.


I'm likely going to discuss my predictions for the hurricane season in a future blog post, but basically I'm calling for strange storms in strange locations at strange times of year. Also, we could have Caribbean storms early in the season, possibly as early as late June. The south and east North Atlantic are currently warmer than average and this warm anomaly is the result of the slowing North Atlantic Gyre, and as the year progresses this anomaly will shift westwards into the Caribbean.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Good golly, ya think ya can jump into a fun blog again with all that is going on, and what do we have? GHeeze!!!



Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
AstroHurricane001 oh ,try google.???
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


EAT?! Democrats??? HISTORY


oops, got the Donner and Alferd Packer parties confused.. Packer was the only Republican. The first Democratic dinner.
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Quoting xcool:
nola snow 1963 then 1965 hurricane .that HISTORY.


OK, but that's a span of two years. Is there a place where I can compare winter weather patterns and SSTs to hurricane seasons past?
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
So what is this coming hurricane season gonna produce. My concern is for the Cape Verde storms.
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....
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


EAT?! Democrats??? HISTORY
At least the catholic search supports science, when it comes to sustain our environment.
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nola snow 1963 then 1965 hurricane .that HISTORY.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
AstroHurricane001 im. think more from nola to f.l high risk .imo
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620

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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.