Thursday, February 11, 2010

Latest details on Snow event (Thursday AM)

*Winter Storm Warning for most of the viewing area*

Before I discuss the details...

In the words of meteorologist James Spann, "There will be surprises. Some will be delighted and others severely disappointed by the amount of snow they see."

With that said let's move on...

Our atmosphere is very cold at this point. Morning sounding in Jackson showed an atmosphere basically all below freezing, but Slidell was only a little above freezing upto about 1300 feet. Our sounding will be very important as precipitation nears because anything above freezing will melt the snow pellet on it's way down to the surface. This is why I am thinking we will have a light rain at first this afternoon/evening before we transition into snow after 9pm tonight. Snow precipitation will last into Friday morning and end after midday.

Now snow accumulation is a difficult story since this a rare event in South Mississippi. Computer model agreement hasn't changed much since last night. I agree the most plausible amounts of high snow fall (3"-5") in our viewing area exist along highway 98 and north, but I also think McComb could be considered a hot spot with totals 6"+ (Just outside of viewing area). This is where you should "expect some surprises." We should all realize these forecast numbers are nearly unthinkable for the Pine Belt but it's all plausible. Snow to liquid ratio will be near 6 to 1. Which means an expected 0.6" of liquid precipitation in Hattiesburg will equal about 3.6" of snow.

Road conditions are also another concern. I believe major roads and highways will be relatively fine during this period. These roads might be questionable early Friday morning, but traffic will help melt anything frozen. Smaller and less populated roads will need to be watched during this time. A bigger risk might be Friday night. Friday's high temperature will only be a few degrees above freezing, and any leftover ice or precipitation will be frozen Friday night.

Extra thoughts...
Mobile could also have 1-2" of accumulation.
-Favorite vacation spot Destin, FL, could see snow. Who would love to see snow pics sent in from Destin?
-Overall, this could turn out to be a snow storm we haven't experienced in several years...might we be calling this the snow storm of the decade for the south?

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