By late evening, snow was accumulating quickly. The strong winds combined with the heavy wet snow to bring down tree limbs and power lines. Sitting in the dark by 11 p.m. in Trussville, we watched out the window as the snow piled up rapidly. Then, the sky lit up brightly followed by a deafening crack of thunder. Convective snow! A rare event indeed.
When we awakened around 6 a.m., we were greeted by an unbelievable scene. Deep, deep snow. Deeper than I had ever imagined, much less seen. Drifts were several feet high in places. We had well over a foot of snow on the ground. Officially, a record seventeen inches was measured at the Birmingham Airport. The entire region was brought to a standstill.
The storm is know as the Storm of the Century, or the Superstorm. It is rated number one on the all time ranking of winter storms according to impact. It killed a total of 270 people. Damage totaled over $6 billion. An eight foot storm surge inundated the Florida Big Bend area. A rash of tornadoes raked the Sunshine State. Snowfall amounts were biblical. Sixty inches of snow fell on Mount Leconte in North Carolina.
* Flagstaff, Ariz., where only 1.6 inches of snow had fallen this winter until a few days ago, has been getting heavy snow today. They are expecting 12 to 24 inches before the winter storm abates later Sunday.
* Already, 10 to 20 inches has fallen today on the Eastern Mogollon Rim (in the White Mountains southeast of Flagstaff) and they may get 30 inches.
* Snow showers are expected in Las Vegas and also in Death Valley tonight!
* A Heavy Snow Warning is in effect above 2,000 feet in the Phoenix area tonight. By late this afternoon, snow has been reported in the NE part of the Valley, including the Cave Creek area and North Scottsdale.
* An amazing 90 inches of snow fell in only 24 hours yesterday at Moosehead Lake, Montana.
*327 inches of snow now on the ground at the Rubicon No. 2 Snowtel measuring station in the California High Country, elevation 7499 feet.
*165 inches of snow now at Crater Lake National Park Headquarters, elevation 6473 feet.
* 208 inches on the ground in Washington State at the Mt. Ranier Ranger Station.
* Nearly an inch of rain fell at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport today ending their long record string of 143 days with now a drop of rain. Nearly two inches fell in parts of the Phoenix area. However, between December 30, 1971 and June 6, 1972, Phoenix went 160 days in a row with no MEASURABLE rain. This means they could have had some sprinkles during that time.
Morning balloon soundings indicated the presence of a capping inversion over the area at about 10,000 feet. Some updrafts have been able to break through the cap in an arc from Marion County over to Cullman, Blount and St. Clair Counties, then down to Tallapoosa County. This is borne out well in the satellite imagery also. These scattered cells are moving north northeastward and will grow into storms.
Additional showers and storms will continue to develop across the area for the remainder of the afternoon. It is funny that forecast soundings based on the NAM model run indicate that the cap will completely erode by midafternoon, while the GFS and MESO-ETA hold onto it. It will be interesting to watch the battle between surface heating and the cap as the afternoon goes on.
Any storms that do form will be capable of producing brief heavy rains and dangerous lightning this afternoon.
Temperatures across the northern half of the state range from 76 at Huntsville to 83 at Tuscaloosa at 2 p.m. It was 80 at the Birmingham International Airport.
It is quite windy across the area, with southerly winds averaging 10-20 mph, occasionally gusting to over 25 mph. A Lake Wind Advisory is in effect for western counties.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
956 PM CST FRI MAR 10 2006
...STRAIGHT LINE WIND GUSTS REACH 58 TO 85 MPH...
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS SURVEYED SEVERAL LOCATIONS
ACROSS WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA. IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE
THUNDERSTORMS MOVING ACROSS WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA THURSDAY AFTERNOON
AND EVENING...PRODUCED STRAIGHT LINE WIND GUSTS ESTIMATED BETWEEN 58
AND 85 MILES AN HOUR.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AT
2:40 PM FOR MOST OF WESTERN AND NORTHERN ALABAMA VALID THROUGH 9:00
PM. A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CROSSED THE MISSISSIPPI...ALABAMA
STATE-LINE AT APPROXIMATELY 3:30 PM. THE STRONGEST SEGMENT OF LINE
TRAVELED NORTHEAST AND AFFECTED LAMAR...MARION...FAYETTE...WALKER...
AND WINSTON COUNTIES.
LAMAR COUNTY...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING WAS IN EFFECT FOR
LAMAR COUNTY FROM 3:14 PM UNTIL 4:15 PM. THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
ENTERED WESTERN LAMAR COUNTY AROUND 3:38 PM AND QUICKLY CROSSED THE
COUNTY. VIRTUALLY THE ENTIRE COUNTY WAS AFFECTED BY THE SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM WINDS. HUNDREDS OF TREES AND POWER LINES WERE
EITHER BLOWN DOWN...SNAPPED OFF...OR UPROOTED COUNTYWIDE. THE ROOFS
OF AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND A BOWLING ALLEY WERE PARTIALLY TORN OFF
IN VERNON. A FEW ROOFS WERE PARTIALLY TORN OFF HOMES IN THE SULLIGENT
AREA. MANY ADDITIONAL HOMES AND BUSINESSES SUFFERED VARYING DEGREES
OF ROOF DAMAGE. SEVERAL OUT-BUILDINGS AND BARNS WERE EITHER DAMAGED
OR DESTROYED. IN SOME INSTANCES...THE DEBRIS WAS THROWN OVER 100
YARDS DOWNWIND. PEA TO NICKEL SIZE HAIL ALSO FELL DURING THE SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS AND COLLECTED UP TO SEVERAL INCHES DEEP ON THE GROUND
IN PLACES. WIND GUSTS WERE ESTIMATED BETWEEN 70 AND 85 MILES AN HOUR.
MARION COUNTY...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING WAS IN EFFECT FOR
MARION COUNTY FROM 3:14 PM UNTIL 4:15 PM...WITH A TORNADO WARNING IN
EFFECT FROM 4:06 UNTIL 4:30 PM. THE LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
ENTERED WESTERN MARION COUNTY AROUND 3:40 PM. VIRTUALLY THE ENTIRE
COUNTY WAS AFFECTED BY THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WINDS. HUNDREDS OF
TREES AND POWER LINES WERE EITHER BLOWN DOWN...SNAPPED OFF...OR
UPROOTED COUNTYWIDE. THE ROOF OF A FURNITURE ACCESSORIES STORE WAS
PARTIALLY TORN OFF IN WINFIELD. PEA TO NICKEL SIZE HAIL ALSO FELL
DURING THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS AND COLLECTED UP TO A SEVERAL INCHES
DEEP ON THE GROUND IN PLACES. WIND GUSTS WERE ESTIMATED BETWEEN 65
AND 75 MILES AN HOUR.
FAYETTE COUNTY...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING WAS IN EFFECT FOR
FAYETTE COUNTY FROM 3:28 PM UNTIL 4:45 PM. THE LINE OF SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS ENTERED WESTERN FAYETTE COUNTY AROUND 3:53 PM. THE
MOST SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE OCCURRED NORTHWEST OF LINE FROM 6 MILES WEST
OF FAYETTE TO NEAR THE BAZEMORE COMMUNITY. DAMAGE WAS REPORTED IN
OR NEAR MOUNT VERNON...KIRKLAND...BLUFF...WAYSIDE...GLEN ALLEN...
SHADY GROVE...AND BAZEMORE. NUMEROUS TREES WERE EITHER BLOWN DOWN...
SNAPPED OFF...OR UPROOTED. DOZENS OF HOMES SUFFERED VARYING DEGREES
OF ROOF DAMAGE WITH MANY SHINGLES LITTERING THE GROUND. A FEW OUT-
BUILDINGS AND BARNS ALSO SUSTAINED DAMAGE. DEBRIS FROM ONE DESTROYED
BARN WAS BLOWN OVER 100 YARDS DOWNWIND. PEA TO NICKEL SIZE HAIL ALSO
FELL DURING THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS AND COLLECTED UP TO A FEW INCHES
DEEP ON THE GROUND IN PLACES. WIND GUSTS WERE ESTIMATED BETWEEN 65
AND 75 MILES AN HOUR.
WALKER COUNTY...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING WAS IN EFFECT FOR
WALKER COUNTY FROM 3:56 PM UNTIL 5:00 PM. THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
MOVED INTO FAR NORTHWESTERN WALKER COUNTY AT APPROXIMATELY 4:15 PM.
THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE IN WALKER COUNTY WAS LIMITED TO AREAS
GENERALLY NORTH OF U.S. 78 AND WEST OF NAUVOO. SEVERAL TREES AND
POWER LINES WERE BLOWN DOWN FROM NEAR ELDRIDGE NORTHWARD TO THE
WINSTON COUNTY LINE. ONE PERSON WAS INJURED NORTH OF ELDRIDGE WHEN
A TREE FELL ONTO A VEHICLE. WIND GUSTS WERE ESTIMATED BETWEEN 60 AND
70 MILES AN HOUR.
WINSTON COUNTY...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING WAS IN EFFECT FOR
WINSTON COUNTY FROM 3:56 PM UNTIL 5:00 PM. THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
ENTERED WESTERN WINSTON COUNTY FROM HALEYVILLE TO LYNN AROUND 4:13
PM. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE WAS REPORTED GENERALLY NORTH OF A
LINE FROM LYNN TO DOUBLE SPRINGS TO THE BANKHEAD NATIONAL FOREST.
NUMEROUS TREES WERE BLOWN DOWN IN AND AROUND LYNN...DOUBLE SPRINGS...
AND HALEYVILLE. IN LYNN...ONE PERSON WAS INJURED AT A MOBILE HOME
MANUFACTURING PLANT AND ONE MOBILE HOME WAS DAMAGED. IN DOUBLE
SPRINGS...SEVERAL STORES AND THE COURTHOUSE SUFFERED ROOF DAMAGE.
A FEW OUT-BUILDINGS WERE ALSO DAMAGED. IN HALEYVILLE...THE POST
OFFICE LOST PART OF ITS ROOF AND SEVERAL SIGNS WERE DESTROYED. A FEW
BUILDINGS SUFFERED ROOF DAMAGE. WIND GUSTS WERE ESTIMATED AT 58 TO
70 MILES AN HOUR.
Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport received 0.15 rainfall overnight. Not much but it is the first rain after 142 days in a row with not a drop.
That was, by far, an all time record.
Up in the North Arizona High Country, a half-foot of new snow has fallen at Flagstaff and they have 6 inches on the ground this morning. This brings their winter total to about 9 inches...still a huge snowfall deficit.
The weather is always interesting somewhere.
Life goes on, drought or overabundance...
Interesting weather in the short term as a warm front moved north through the state overnight. At this writing, the warm front was located in extreme northern Alabama and it is expected to continue moving northward. So this puts into place something we did not have for our severe weather event last Thursday - a good supply of low level moisture. And that moisture should remain in place through the first of the upcoming week.
This means that we have an almost summer-like pattern and can expect to see scattered showers mainly during the afternoons today and Sunday before the big show Monday afternoon and Monday night. SPC has a slight risk outlook for a large portion of the southeastern states extending northeastward into New England.
For the weekend, temperatures will be much above normal along with fairly high humidity. Clouds this morning will probably break up somewhat giving us some sunshine from time to time.
The cold front sweeps into Alabama Monday afternoon and pushed through the state by early Tuesday morning. While the dynamics of this system appear to be north of our area, the abundant low level moisture ahead of the front along with a favorable shear pattern for supercells, there is a risk of damaging wind, large hail, and possibly tornadoes.
A cool down occurs behind the front but another short wave promises a chance for showers on Thursday with another front. Weather improves Friday and Saturday but we experience a cooler northwesterly flow. So next Saturday should be dry and a cooler than normal.
The longer range GFS shows a shift to a long wave trough on the east coast of the US promising some colder weather for late in the month.
I guess we really should not be surprised to see this active weather pattern since it is meteorologically into the spring season and our primary severe weather season. After a number of years with very little spring severe weather, the spring of 2006 is starting out active - but will the activity sustain itself? Only time will tell.
Hope you have a great weekend. After the busy week, I plan to put my feet up as much as possible even though the chore list is getting longer!! I really do need to wash my car, too!! And the dog...and perhaps clean out the garage...nah, I'm putting my feet up!! If I could just get the Dakota (my dog) to fetch the mail and the newspaper!!