25 December 2010

Rare White Christmas In Southeast USA

Posted by Dan Satterfield

6-7 inches of snow are on the ground in Madison County Alabama. This shot is in Huntsville on Monte Sano Mountain.

For people who live in Tennessee, Georgia or Alabama, a white Christmas truly is just a dream. Not this Christmas though! A heavy blanket of wet snow fell before sunrise on Christmas morning across much of North Alabama. Some areas in the higher elevations of NE Alabama had over 6 inches of snow!

Snow in North Alabama. My wife took this shot.

In 1989 a dusting of snow fell on Christmas day in the region, and back in 1962 and 1963, there was some snow on the ground on Christmas morning. The snow had fallen in the previous two days, and little or none fell on Christmas Day itself.

It looks as if this is the heaviest Christmas snowfall ever recorded for many spots in Alabama and Georgia.  Truly an event that people will mark their lives by in this part of the world.

This will be the big news today, but the big news for tomorrow will be the great Boxing Day blizzard that is going to hit the NE U.S. The numerical weather prediction models are all in remarkable agreement about it. The low pressure in the Gulf ,that brought snow to Alabama, will intensify rapidly as it moves up the East Coast on Sunday.

A foot of snow is likely in some spots along with very high winds. The Sunday storm is sure to cause a major snarl in air traffic and may cause power outages as winds approach 45 mph. In the UK it was one of the coldest Christmas morning on record. Manchester was -12C (10F) at sunrise this morning, and snow covers much the British Isles.

The blame for all for this is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). See the post I wrote on that last week. One thing more, the planet as a whole is very warm right now and climate change has already pushed the moisture in the atmosphere about 4% higher than 50 years ago. Did that make a difference?

It’s certainly possible.