Overview Surface/Upper Air/Satellite
Snow & Ice Totals
Photos Other Links  
 

Overview

An extremely complex weather system brought a unique double snowfall event to Central Alabama on February 11th and again on February 12-13th, 2014. The setup began as an Arctic cold front moved across the area on Monday, February 10th. The cold front brought temperatures from the 60s (previous weekend) down to near or just above freezing by Tuesday morning. As moisture from the Gulf of Mexico moved northward to coincide with the colder temperatures during the morning hours on Tuesday, most of Central Alabama experienced a cold rain, while areas along and just south of Hwy 278 saw a changeover to sleet and snow. Interestingly, a heavy band of snow formed right along Hwy 278, where several inches of snow fell across Marion and Winston Counties in the northwest and northern Blount, Etowah, and Cherokee in the northeast. The moisture from the first event quickly exited to the east into northern Georgia by the mid morning hours on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a strong high pressure system was settling across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which is a perfect setup for cold air damming along the East Coast and Southeast U.S. Cold air damming occurs when colder New England air settles and is essentially trapped in between the Smokey Mountains and the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. This allows colder air to settle near the surface, while the air aloft oftentimes remains above freezing (think of cold dense air being heavy and settling close to the surface). Once again, on the heels of the Tuesday early morning storm system, another much stronger system was developing across the Southeastern CONUS. For the most part, at least early on, temperatures had warmed to just above freezing, and much of Central Alabama experienced just a cold rain. However, as the cold air damming strengthened Wednesday morning, many of the eastern counties went from a cold rain to an ice storm. Around a quarter-inch of ice or slightly less was seen from Cherokee County, southward into Cleburne, Randolph, Chambers, and Clay Counties. Cheaha State Park experienced the most ice, around one half inch, which knocked out power and brought down thousands of trees throughout the park. This system also led to the epic ice storm that impacted much of the East Coast.

This stronger second system wasn't quite done yet, as the upper level portion of the storm was still gaining strength across the Northern Gulf Coast. A strong deformation zone and TROWAL (Trough of Warm Air Aloft) set up over the northern half of Alabama. A TROWAL is formed by a maturing upper level storm system that pumps significant mid-level moisture around the northern side of the low center, while complex dynamic cooling takes place to quickly lower temperatures below freezing. From west to east (as seen on the snow map below), heavy bands of snow fell across most of the region north of Interstate 20. As the system progressed northeastward, it continued to gain strength. As a result, a heavy snowband setup across the northern half of Jefferson and Blount Counties, which led to locally maximized totals. Again, this is a very rare setup across the area where several non-unique weather events came together in just the right way to cause a prolonged winter weather event, thus creating a very difficult forecast.

 

Surface/Upper Air/Satellite

6AM February 12th

250mb Chart at 12Z February 12th

250mb Chart

500mb Chart at 12Z Febuary 12th

500mb Chart

850mb Chart at 12Z February 12th

850mb Chart

Surface Analysis at 12Z February 12th

Surface Analysis

Surface Analysis & Radar at 12Z February 12th

Surface Analysis & Radar

KBMX Sounding at 12Z February 12th

KBMX Sounding

12PM February 12th

Surface Analysis at 18Z February 12th

Surface Analysis

Surface Analysis & Radar at 18Z February 12th

Surface Analysis & Radar

KBMX Sounding at 18Z February 12th

Surface Analysis & Radar

6PM February 12th

250mb Chart at 00Z February 13th

250mb Chart

500mb Chart at 00Z February 13th

500mb Chart

250mb Chart at 00Z February 13th

850mb Chart

Surface Analysis at 00Z February 13th

Surface Analysis

Surface Analysis & Radar at 00Z February 13th

Surface Analysis & Radar

KBMX Sounding at 00Z February 13th

KBMX Sounding

12AM February 13th

Surface Analysis at 06Z February 13th

Surface Analysis

Surface Analysis & Radar at 06Z February 13th

Surface Analysis & Radar

 

6AM February 13th

250mb Chart at 12Z February 13th

250mb Chart

500mb Chart at 12Z February 13th

500mb Chart

850mb Chart at 12Z February 13th

850mb Chart

Surface Analysis at 12Z February 13th

Surface Analysis

Surface Analysis & Radar at 12Z February 13th

Surface Analysis & Radar

KBMX Sounding at 12Z February 13th

KBMX Sounding

Satellite Images

Visible Satellite at 15Z on February 13th

Visible Satellite (Regional)

Visible Satellite at 15Z on February 13th

Visible Satellite (Local)

 
 
Snow & Ice Totals
 
Preliminary Snowfall Totals

For a complete list of all snow and ice reports received during/after the event, click here.

 
Photos
 

Northwest Snow


Hamilton
Courtesy of Tim Rye


Bear Creek
Courtesy of Michelle Taylor Melcher


Cordova
Courtesy of Vickie Farris


Hamilton
Courtesy of valarie Walker


Dora
Courtesy of Kathy Goble Cole


Shiloh Community
Courtesy of Lisa Sims Wiginton


Kennedy
Courtesy of Scott Bouldin


Haleyville
Courtesy of Littlep Taylor


Haleyville
Courtesy of Littlep Taylor


Haleyville
Courtesy of Littlep Taylor


Corner
Courtesy of Robyn Waldrop Pike


Kennedy
Courtesy of Malin Freeman


Fayette
Courtesy of Fayette Skycam


Quinton
Courtesy of Donna Hurley


Guin
Courtesy of Guin Skycam


 

Birmingham Area Snow


Birmingham Airport
Courtesy of @me_lion_ulamb


Trussville
Courtesy of Stacy Wooten


Downtown Birmingham
Courtesy of eclecticash (instagram)


Downtown Birmingham
Courtesy of City of Birmingham


Lake View
Courtesy of Mark and Mary Parker


Five Points South
Courtesy of Amy Perryman Gunter


Fultondale
Courtesy of Jennifer Malone


Concord
Courtesy of John Talbot


Birmingham
Courtesy of Melissa Hope Stewart


Trussville
Courtesy of Jason Reed


UAB
Courtesy of Samantha Wilson


US 78 @ Finley Blvd
Courtesy of Stephanie Jones


Crestwood
Courtesy of Lori Sparacio


Forestdale
Courtesy of Tori Farris


Downtown Birmingham
Courtesy of AJ Fennell


Pinson
Courtesy of Johanna Farley


Emerald Valley Resort
Courtesy of Carol Wilbanks


Homewood
Courtesy of Danny Griffen


East Lake
Courtesy of B Monique Jeter


Gardendale
Courtesy of Eddie Ford


Red Mountain Expwy
Courtesy of Stacy Wooten


Leeds
Courtesy of David Gillespie


Trussville
Courtesy of Jenny Ellison


Vulcan
Courtesy of al.com


Forestdale
Courtesy of Tori Farris


Gardendale
Courtesy of John Gray


Homewood
Courtesy of Will Harris


Fairfield
Courtesy of Matthew Romei


Hoover
Courtesy of Matthew Grantham


UAB
Courtesy of Mark Heim


Hueytown High School
Courtesy of Dave Jones


 

Northeast Snow


Blountsville
Courtesy of Melissa Sansing


Margaret
Courtesy of Amy Brasher Stuart


Oneonta
Courtesy of Scott


Susan Moore
Courtesy of Belinda LeCroy


Blount County
Courtesy of Paula Stewart


Oneonta
Courtesy of Tammy Wingard


Oneonta
Courtesy of Blount County EMA


Oneonta Fire Dept
Courtesy of Blount County EMA


Remlap
Courtesy of Sara Young


Straight Mountain
Courtesy of Jan Denson


Snead
Courtesy of Belinda/Randy Beeson


Susan Moore
Courtesy of Carla Cleveland


Palisades Park
Courtesy of Ken Campbell


Locust Fork
Courtesy of Weslie Powell


Ranburne
Courtesy of Denise/Buddy Turner


Oneonta
Courtesy of Blount County EMA


Odenville
Courtesy of Odenville Police Dept


Blount Co Hwy 26
Courtesy of Paula Stewart


 


 

Northeast/East Ice


Bald Rock (Mt Cheaha)
Courtesy of Jordan Shears


Hwy 281 near Mt Cheaha
Courtesy of Julie Amelia Smith


Wedowee
Courtesy of Jamey Walls


Wedowee
Courtesy of Jamey Walls


Mt Cheaha
Courtesy of Hayes Jackson


Cheaha State park
Courtesy of Alabama State Parks


Cheaha State Park
Courtesy of Alabama State Parks


Cheaha State Park
Courtesy of Alabama State Parks


Cheaha State Park
Courtesy of Alabama State Parks


Cheaha State Park
Courtesy of Alabama State Parks


Mountain Longleaf NWR
Courtesy of Michelle Miklik


Mountain Longleaf NWR
Courtesy of Michelle Miklik

 

Other Links

NWS Peachtree City, GA

NWS Jackson, MS

NWS Columbia, SC

 

 

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.