Winter Weather History in Central Alabama


On the morning of January 17, 2013, a strong cold core upper level low pressure area moved east out of Mississippi and combined with deep Gulf of Mexico moisture.  This led to a quick burst of snow across areas north of I-20. Generally 1-3 inches of snow fell, with locally higher totals of 4-5 inches, which led to very hazardous roadway conditions and numerous traffic accidents occurred.

On February 9th, 2011, snowfall totals from a low pressure system from the gulf of Mexico ranged from 4 inches in Lamar county to trace amounts along the Interstate 85 corridor.

By daybreak on Monday, January 10th, 2011, areas north of Interstate 20 reported anywhere from 1 to 14 inches of snow with the heaviest totals near the Alabama-Tennessee state line. Ice reports were as high as 0.50 inches in multiple counties south of Interstate 20.

Snowfall blanketed much of northern and central Alabama on December 25th, 2010.  Some locations saw the first White Christmas on record, while others just missed out on a White Christmas.

On March 1, 2009, snow blanketed central Alabama. Citizens as far south as Montgomery saw at least a dusting, but most everyone saw snowfall totals between 1 and 5 inches, with the heaviest totals around Auburn, where Lee county saw over 5 inches of snow.

Almost 3 years ago on January 19, 2008, snow fell across central Alabama. Areas from Demopolis to Selma to Clanton received 2 to 5 inches of snow. Areas as far north as Birmingham and south to Montgomery received up to one inch.

On January 28-29, 2005, an ice storm occurred across eastern Alabama. Ice accumulations of one quarter to one inch caused significant icing and widespread power outages across Randolph and Chambers counties. Much of the remainder of east Alabama received lighter ice amounts where power outages were less widespread and damage to trees was relatively minor. Light icing was reported as far west as Birmingham and Montgomery.

In March 1993, the storm of the century occurred. The state was held in the grip of record snowfall with more than a foot of snow across a wide portion of central Alabama. The snow completely paralyzed a large section of the state. Strong winds accompanied the heavy wet snow and this combination downed numerous trees and power lines. Many people were left without electrical service for several days. Heavy snowfall on March 12 and 13 was followed by a record breaking cold snap. Nearly all activity came to a complete halt in and around Birmingham, Anniston and Tuscaloosa for two full days until the snow began to melt and emergency equipment could begin to clear roadways. When the wintry precipitation and cold conditions subsided, 14 people had died and many more were injured. Property damage exceeded 50 million dollars and every square inch of Alabama had experienced measurable snow. During the winter storm, the American Red Cross in Alabama sheltered over 12000 people in 108 facilities and served over 36000 meals.

An outbreak of severe cold weather occurred December 22-25, 1989, killing five people in Alabama. Low temperatures for two consecutive nights dropped into the 0 to minus 5 degree range over the northern third of Alabama and into the single digits all the way to the Gulf Coast. Daytime high temperatures reached only into the teens. Brisk northerly winds created wind chills as low as minus 15 to minus 35 degrees below zero over north Alabama and zero to minus 15 in south Alabama.

At least 5 people perished in the extreme cold of January 19-22, 1985. This event re-established low temperature records over much of Alabama. This storm brought ice accumulations of up to one foot as reported in Lauderdale county. Bridges were coated with ice well into central Alabama and four people were killed in traffic accidents on icy roads.

One of the most tragic outbreaks of cold weather in Alabama history occurred January 10-18, 1982. Twenty people died and 300 were injured during this extremely cold weather. Sixteen thousand people were forced into emergency shelters and storm damage totaled some 78 million dollars.

The arctic outbreak of December 19-21, 1981, took the lives of at least two people in unheated homes and at least 17 people were injured by slipping and falling on ice.


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