While we here in Michigan have had to deal with ice this past week and look on the ice side of the system next week way back in 1973 we were way too far to the north for February storm that year’
The information below is from
The NWS Wilmington, NC
Weather Forecast Office
One of the greatest snowstorms in Southeastern United States history occurred February 9-11, 1973. This storm dropped one to two feet of snow across a region that typically sees only an inch or two of snow per year. New all-time snowfall records were established in a number of locations including Rimini, SC with 24 inches; 18 inches in Darlington, SC; and 16.5 inches in Macon, GA. Snowfall in Wilmington, NC reached 12.5 inches with 7.1 inches recorded in Charleston, SC, both setting all-time records which were broken just 16 years later during the Christmas storm of 1989. Measurable snow fell along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida and flurries were reported as far south as Lisbon and Clermont, Florida just outside of Orlando.
After a period of mild conditions, some very cold air spilled down into the southern U.S. on Thursday, February 8th. There were reports of light snow and freezing rain across parts of southern and southeast Texas and into Louisiana.
On Friday, freezing rain changed to a period of snow before ending across southern Louisiana and Mississippi, with snow accumulations of 1-3 inches. Snow spread across Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, while freezing rain and sleet fell across coastal South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama between areas of snow and rain.
The low moved east along the nearly stationary front in the Gulf and reached central Florida during the evening hours of February 9th. Ice changed over to snow before ending across southern Louisiana and Mississippi with isolated totals over 3 inches. Snow began to spread northeastward across Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas with freezing rain and sleet forming a transition zone across coastal South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama between the snow and rain. Snowfall totals across Alabama were heaviest in a narrow band between Dothan and Montgomery, including totals over a foot reported from the communities of Highland Home, Pittsview, and Union Spring
The low strengthened quickly the morning of February 10th, dragging cold air southward across Georgia and Florida. This changed precipitation over to all snow as far south as Tallahassee, Florida; Valdosta, Georgia; and Savannah, Georgia. Moderate to heavy snow developed across central Georgia, most of South Carolina and eastern North Carolina. Thunder even accompanied the snowfall in Augusta, GA around 3 a.m., in Florence, SC at 6 a.m., Wilmington, NC at noon, and in New Bern, NC at 2 p.m. Snowfall rates increased to one to two inches per hour and held there for most of the day, producing a 50-mile wide stripe of snowfall totals over one foot extending clear across Georgia including 18.5 inches in Butler, 16.5 inches in Macon, and 14 inches in Columbus, Georgia. Interestingly the snow remained entirely south of Atlanta with only cloudy skies reported there
The low continued to strengthen as it moved east of the North Carolina coast during the evening of February 10th. Snow began to taper off across Georgia and most of South Carolina, however light snow and flurries were carried south into the northern half of the Florida peninsula with measurable snow falling in Jacksonville. Wind gusts exceeded 40 mph and led to areas of blowing snow with visibility falling to near zero in many locations across eastern North Carolina during the evening of February 10th — truly blizzard conditions in an area that hardly sees any snow in a typical winter. By the time the snow ended an amazing 24 inches had fallen in the Clarendon County town of Rimini, South Carolina. Other significant snowfall totals included 18 inches in Darlington, 17 inches in Florence, and 16 inches in Columbia, South Carolina. In eastern North Carolina 16.5 inches fell in Whiteville, 16 inches in Morehead City, 13 inches in New Bern, and 12.5 inches in Wilmington
Snow drifts in parts of South Carolina were up to 8 feet high. National Guard also helicopters to deployed airlift food to stranded residents. In Columbia, South Carolina, where 16 inches of snow fell, some roofs collapsed due to the weight of the snow. After the storm ended on Saturday, the temperature at Columbia fell to 5 degrees above zero.
Here are some pictures from January 2018 from the Alabama welcome center. Yes there was snow on the ground last January in Alabama.
As we now are heading into the 2nd full week of February it will soon be time to start looking at what spring 2019 will be like.
Some first indications of a mild start to spring. We are now undergoing a Major stratospheric cooling at this time. This is just the opposite of a stratospheric warming. This process will start to pull the Polar jet stream further north at a faster rate and lead to the Subtropical jet stream to be the dominant jet stream in the United States for March and April. In short, the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations are more likely to be in positive phases than negative phases for early Spring. That could lead the March and April pattern to be wet and on the mild side. We will keep a eye on this as see if that indeed is what happens.
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