The 1982 Winter Storm in Birmingham

| January 11, 2008 @ 9:53 pm | 27 Replies

Birmingham experienced one of its worst winter storms of the twentieth century as snow swept into Central Alabama about midday on January 12, 1982. Morning forecasts had called for a winter storm watch for occasional sleet and freezing rain that would arrive by sundown. By mid-morning, as freezing rain and sleet across South Alabama was spreading rapidly north, the watch was changed to a winter storm warning.

The snow arrived about 8 hours earlier than anticipated in the Birmingham area and quickly changed over to a mix of freezing rain and sleet that turned roads in skating rinks. Thousands of motorists had to abandon their vehicles on roads and hike home or spend the night in shelters. Brookwood Village mall became a huge shelter. So many wrecks occurred that the Birmingham Police Department could not answer the calls for accident investigation.

As temperatures hovered near the freezing mark through the night, freezing rain created a thick coating on all exposed objects. Trees snapped, pulling down power lines and putting as many as 750,000 Alabamians in the dark. A state of emergency was declared in Alabama and National Guard Armories were opened to serve as shelters.

The event occurred as low pressure moving along the Gulf coast spread moisture up and over an arctic airmass causing the wintry precipitation. Share your favorite story from the winter storm of 1982.

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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

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