Your Winter Storm Surprises? Disappointments?

| January 8, 2011 @ 9:00 am | 11 Replies

It has been a while since a widespread snowfall has been forecast this far in advance with fairly high confidence and good model agreement here in Central Alabama.  There are still lots of details to be worked out.  Remember, this is just the pregame.  The teams have not even taken the field yet.

I remember a similar situation in January 1992 when over four inches fell on a Saturday in an event that was pretty well forecast for the time. (I broke my leg, foot and ankle that day – January 18th playing in the snow.)

And there was the 1993 Blizzard. But although our confidence was high about that event, we could hardly believe it was actually occurring. I mean, it had been 75F just two days before!

Of course, this storm is nothing like that blizzard, but it does have the potential to bring some big snowfall amounts to parts of Central Alabama.

Last night, James talked about the excitement that many of us felt as kids when winter storm threats came along (and many still feel today). Here is one of my disappointments:

On this date in 1973, the trial of seven defendants in the “Watergate affair” was set to begin.

The Paris peace talks were resuming in an effort to end the Vietnam War.

The main headlines told the story of a sniper atop the Howard Johnson’s Hotel (now the Holiday Inn) in downtown New Orleans that paralyzed the Crescent City’s business district for the better part of a day and a half. Nine people were killed. I remember that event well.

Even as that story unfolded, Atlanta and northern Georgia was in the deep freeze and in the dark after a weekend ice storm. As much as four inches of ice coated most of northern Georgia, leaving 300,000 people without electricity for as much as a week. Damage was estimated at $25 million.

Alabama narrowly escaped this event with mainly a heavy, cold rain, although some icing was reported from Fayette to Scottsboro and along the eastern side of the state to near Talladega. Significant icing was reported around Muscle Shoals.

I remember the winter weather event as well, hoping that the wintry precipitation would extend down into Birmingham on that Sunday on the oft chance that the schools would be closed on Monday the 8th. We woke up to no white stuff, just rain.

What are your biggest Alabama winter storm surprises and disappointments? Share them by commenting below.


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Category: Alabama's Weather, Met 101/Weather History

About the Author ()

Bill Murray is the President of The Weather Factory. He is the site’s official weather historian and a weekend forecaster. He also anchors the site’s severe weather coverage. Bill Murray is the proud holder of National Weather Association Digital Seal #0001 @wxhistorian

Comments (11)

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  1. jerseypup says:

    My biggest surprise was the April snow of 1987. My biggest disappointment is right now. If it doesn’t snow or ice big I’ll be going going to a meeting on the west coast Tuesday and I DON’T WANT TO GO LOL

  2. kdawg says:

    Birmingham will get screwed again! i couldnt begin to list my disappointments. these things awys get us excited and then disappoint!

  3. George in Georgia says:

    That event (in GA) really “lit the fire” for my interest in weather….1973 was wild with the Ice Storm, The extremely heavy snow over central Georgia (Macon 16″) with Atlanta zero!, followed by severe tornadoes in March and May!!!!
    Just a note…this event will affect almost the entire service area of the Southern Company (MS Power, AL Power, GA Power, and Gulf Power). This will hinder their ability to “shift crews” into impacted areas ahead of storm, which could lead to longer power interuption issues!!!!

  4. Angela says:

    I don’t remember the “misses” as much as I remember the “hits”. The major ice storm of 1983 right after christmas (or was it New Years?) stands out as quite a unique exeprience. Literally a sheet of thick ice on EVERYTHING! I could ice-skate on my driveway.

    James Spann has been my favorite weatherman since I was 11 years old (I am 40 now) and I was so sad when he left us for Texas there for a while. James made weather interesting to kids. Not just anyone can do this.

    Satterfield filled his void of James during his absence and did a pretty good job….especially his daring ventures out into storms and hale stones to do the weather. haha!

  5. Crystal says:

    my biggest Alabama winter storm surprise was definitely the blizzard of 1993. i was 7 yrs. old and some of the snow drifts went well over my head. (i lived on lookout mountain at the time.) However, this past Christmas snow event of 2010 was very surprising. bet we won’t see another white Christmas like that in Alabama for many years…or who knows really…Alabama’s quick climate changes have never ceased to amaze me.

  6. Scott in Oxford says:

    Every winter is a disapointment, snow is always the exception rather than the rule, even when the forecast insists on it.

    The white Christmas we had will be my favorite. Thats something that several generations before me have never seen, and likely several after me will never see. The beautiful snow and decent travel situation(until late that night) made it as close to perfect as it could have been

  7. zaba says:

    I was due to fly out of Bham, to New Jersey, then on to my army posting in early Jan 1964. Bham caught a large snow & the airport was closed. I thought maybe I’d be accused of going AWOL until I finally reached someone who helped me reschedule.

  8. RCBev says:

    The ice storm of 1996 sticks in my mind well. I was suppose to start a new job up in Huntsville (we were living in South Mississippi at that time). My sister traveled down from Bowling Green a day before me to help me move in. Right before I went to bed, I looked at the weather channel and decided there was NO WAY I was going to travel. I called my sister at the hotel and told her — she informed me that Huntsville was already having freezing rain. Called my new employer and asked if I could start work the following Monday. Well to say the least — my sister was stuck for 3 days in Huntsville before she could get home.

  9. Leah M. says:

    My biggest disappointment was a small ice event on Christmas Day when I was about 9. The ice snapped some limbs & downed a power line close to our house. My Dad was a deputy then & was called to work even though he was off. My Mom was at work so my siblings & I were loaded up in the patrol car & sat in the cold at the downed power lines for hours thinking about our gifts back at home. Sure wasn’t the way I had planned to spend Christmas morning!

  10. Brian says:

    The fact that my house and many areas in and around Birmingham got at least an inch of snow this past Christmas, but the airport couldn’t report any more than a trace, was a disappointment.

  11. 8 inches on New Years Eve in 1962 or 63. It started snowing late morning and the next day we had 8 inches.

    Winter Storm 1993

    Christmas 2010


    No snow!

    The one I really remember was in the 70’s. The NWS came on the weather radio two days before Christmas and said: “If you are thinking white for Christmas you may be right”. There was NO white on the ground on Christmas.

    As a young kid, I threw a snow ball at Charlie Bradley and said here is partly cloudy. He smiled. At the time Bradley was a neighbor and was in charge at the NWS. He was a super nice guy.

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