SE U.S. Snowstorm Update

January 27th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Here’s the latest 48 hr total snowfall forecast (from the NAM model) ending Wednesday morning (it assumes all frozen precip. falls as snow…where it’s freezing rain or sleet, the depths will be less):
See our snowstorm forecast page for additional forecast products.

36 Responses to “SE U.S. Snowstorm Update”

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  1. Hops says:

    18 degrees above average in Anchorage.

  2. Tom Dwidel says:

    20 Degrees F above normal in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories

    16 Degrees F above normal in Nuuk, Greenland

    • Threepwood says:

      Not impressed, 29 degrees below ave here in N Michigan, and I spent all day out in it. Every single (real) person you hear is talking about never seeing this kind of lingering cold climate before, only local media is exercising damage control, pointing to these same few anecdotal warm weather days in obscure locations.

      • Peter In MD says:

        So, are any of those records for the date? If not, then it means it’s been warmer or colder……

        ummmmmm whether you believe in weather or not!

        • Threepwood says:

          we’ve had several record lows for the date this winter- and in places the all time record for the longest stretch of consecutive days below 32 degrees. –

          As a form of insulation, the effect of global warming should show up disproportionately at the low end of the scale rather than the high. yes? i.e. record cold actually refutes global warming far more than record highs support it- especially on top of UHIs’ contribution

          all this cold, snow, ice doesn’t disprove global warming of course, just makes it ever more doubtful?

    • Jake says:

      Am I to assume that when we hit a hot spell here in New England during the summer months that you won’t find it disingenuous for me to point out all the places on the planet which are currently experiencing below average temperatures?

      Are you as annoying in person as you are on this blog?

      Are you as annoying as Hops?

  3. Hot Potato says:

    Tom and Hops didn’t get the memo. Warmer than average temperatures are now pass to those who advocate that climate change is induced by anthropogenic global warming. Snap out of it you two and get with the ticket. You’re making the case for the “Deniers” by pointing to above average temperatures as proof of AGW induced climate change.

    Seriously though, your comments only serve to prove what Roy’s been saying all along. Pointing to weather related events is proof of nothing except our uncertainty about the intricacies and complexities of the process. So isn’t it time the AGW induced climate change crowd stop carting out that canard after every thunderstorm, typhoon….and now snowstorm.

    • Roy Spencer says:

      …we used to call it “weather”. Or was is “whether”? I can’t remember now, I’ve been doing “climate” for too long.

    • Hops says:

      I don’t think we disagree on that. The cold snap doesn’t prove anything, one way or another. Nor am I personally of the view that any one event, even such as Sandy, proves climate change.

      But when extreme events occur, it is not unreasonable to reflect on ways in which they affect us, and whether (not weather) we should break something we cannot fix.

      • Andrew says:

        Or you know, one could attempt to deal with reality.

        You can cower in fear of the demon haunted world if you want.

        Science is a candle in the dark.

        • Threepwood says:

          ‘There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.’ Mark Twain

  4. H. Clay Daulton says:

    I’m a cattleman. The cattle industry suffered 50 years of phony claims about the evils of DIATERY cholesterol. Nobody says much about cholesterol anymore. That’s because science has had to retract its original claims on the subject.

    As far as public hysteria goes, it seems like cholesterol issues have been 100% replaced by compulsions behind global warming and elitists’ “organic foods,” whatever those are, as current public mania numbers 1 & 2.

    So readers of this (climate) subject might take note: We were read to, as youngsters, that Chicken Little’s musings were silly and not to take them seriously. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure children are read to like they used to be.

    Meanwhile greenies have put lots of legitimate businesses out of business while making a bunch of phony ones appear viable.

    It’s disgusting.

    • Lewis Guignard says:


      I’m going to bring some more wood up to the house so I won’t have to track in the snow tomorrow.

      In all, this reminds me of a Family Circus cartoon I saw in the past year. Billy was walking with Dad in the snow and Dad was saying “When I was a kid the snow was so deep, it was up to my knees.” Billy is looking down and it IS up to his knees, but only to Dad’s ankles.

      Wether it’s weather or whether it’s not, it is winter and sometimes the sky is supposed to fall.

    • fonzie says:

      i think alex jones really nailed it when he said that we’re waisting all our energies protesting global warming when the real problem we face may well be GMOs…

      • Bill Sparling says:


        Exactly what have you been eating your entire life? Everything you eat has been genetically modified to some extend over the past millenia.

        And you thought the climate fear mongers were bad, the anti-gmo crowd are just as bad. Ban GMO food and YOU can start deciding who you condemn to starve to death.

        • fonzie says:

          come on, bill… i know you to be a (very)reasonable fellow. there’s a big difference between cross breeding and tinkering with dna. do you want a “consensous of scientists” telling you that GMOs are safe to eat? bigger difference still between the AGW and GMO crowds. AGW is crap. i think the jury is still out on GMOs…

          • Bill Sparling says:

            Lets start with corn, its original form was in grains the size of large grass seeds. Now…

            How about rust resistant wheat and other grains, not very many came from “cross breeding”, but rather by direct genetic manipulation.

            How about dairy cattle, you don’t really think today’s dairy herds were produced by only simple crossbreeding – in fact those cows could not survive today unless milked twice a day.

            AGW is definately crap, but so is the “frankenfood” lobby. Nobody is talking about creating crops that will turn on us (a la’ “day of the Triffods”), this mindless nonsense serves nobody.

  5. ri says:

    Will someone please shoot the groundhog he cant see his shadow if he stays buried.


  6. James says:

    This is an extreme weather event? Really? The ice age was an extreme weather event. This is just winter

  7. Mac says:

    This came very suddenly, Craig Witherspoon, superintendent of Birmingham City Schools in Alabama, said Wednesday morning. An estimated 600 students in his district spent the night in schools, tended by about 100 staff members.

    “Officials caught off guard”.

    Looks to me like they had at least 2 days notice, Roy knew it was going to snow. What were they doing? Watching network news I guess…

    • Gunga Din says:

      Or maybe The Weather Channel. 😎

      But we should remember the southern areas effected aren’t used it. (Though it has happened before, it’s been awhile.)
      They may not have the equipment to deal with snow and ice in Myrtle Beach. No stockpiles of salt. Plenty of sand but maybe no plan in place to utilize it.
      Also, how often do those living there drive in such conditions? Those in northern regions that have driven in snow and ice for a few seasons have learned how to adjust.

      • Threepwood says:

        “Those in northern regions that have driven in snow and ice for a few seasons have learned how to adjust”

        Not my wife!

        • Gunga Din says:

          I should have learned by now not to make blanket statements.
          (I wonder if she was the one in front of me on my way to work?8-)

  8. KevinK says:

    Well, I’ve been adjusting to the weather up here in Western NY for 5 decades. In thirty years of employment I think I’ve taken maybe 5 of my allocated vacation/sick days as “snow days”. The slippery roads are not a problem if you adjust (i.e. lengthen) your ETA. If it will take you four hours to safely get to work and 4 hours to get safely home, not much time left for a good old 8 hour day.

    The two big problems are “whiteouts” (you can’t see the road), and the other drivers. Around here the North South roads get whiteouts since the snow collects on all the farm fields and just waits for a nice wind to blow it across the road. You simply adjust by taking roads with fewer farm fields and more houses and woodlots to block the whiteouts.

    And you adjust your schedule, leave an hour before (or after) rush hour to leave more room around your vehicle.

    I remember leaving my car at the Georgia Tech campus and walking to my apartment (a few miles) since all the cars where sliding sideways down the icy streets (that was in the winter of 1980, I think). Had a nice warm sleep in my apartment and walked back the next day (nice and warm) to retrieve my vehicle.

    Letting everybody onto the expressways at the same time (height of the storm) is a recipe for gridlock. Poor planning indeed.

    So, plan for the worst (four wheel drive around here, staggered closings elsewhere, some sand/salt trucks, etc.) and hope for the best. Adaptation is far easier than “mitigation”, I like to see a study about how limiting CO2 emissions would have prevented those school kids from sleeping in the gym (OK, it’s uncomfortable, but only temporary).

    What we see here is some (not Dr. Spencer) folks thinking that they can “predict/project/model” the weather (it’s a lot easier to model if you claim it’s the climate since it takes a lot longer to see if you are correct), and they cannot in fact tell you much about what’s coming next beyond a few days, at best. In this example they could not get “what’s coming next” right within a few hours….

    Cheers, Kevin.

  9. Hot Potato says:

    The media, national or otherwise, is misleading in their reporting of the nightmare in Atlanta. My brother emailed to see if we were safe and secure after seeing this sensationalized on the national news. He lives in NJ near Philly. I tried to clear things up for him but he’s the type that once he’s formed an opinion about something, it’s tough to get him to see it from another perspective. Similar to not a few scientists and their followers in regard to their opinions about climate change induced by anthropogenic global warming. Despite faulty models indicating a faulty theory, they continue their unabated march to the land of ludicrous. Here’s what I said to my brother in two separate emails, but no doubt, especially the second email, it didn’t persuade him much. For those who are easily offended or irritated by terminology, please substitute climate for weather/whether.

    Him: Are you guys and the families okay down there? Just reading about the nightmare scenarios that have unfolded in Atlanta.

    Me: It’s all good for us. We know of friends who experienced the nightmare, but thankfully we were not affected by it. Not sure about (other brother living in Atlanta area). I know it was terrible on his side of town in Cobb county. It isn’t that the snow/weather is so bad, it’s been the collective behavioral response to it. The best way to describe it is collective insanity. It reveals that Atlanta has grown too fast without proper planning and thus inadequate infrastructure to include enough roads and/or highways. They could never evacuate this place effectively in the case of a national emergency. We’re sitting ducks.

    Him: Good to hear everyone’s okay. That is always the worry. Inadequate management in the case of a true crisis. And it appears that there was ample warning that the snow was coming.

    Me: Actually, that’s another part of the problem. It’s the wont of the media these days to over-hype weather-related events and get people knee-jerk and reactionary. Had everyone gone about their schedules normally, this wouldn’t have been nearly the nightmare it turned out to be, but because businesses let people go home early en mass and schools let out at normal times, the highways and roads turned to gridlock. So, it was a culmination of things and the weather, which was really quite benign, was merely the catalyst but not necessarily the cause.

  10. Dr. Roy,
    Hope you dont mind, but I have a question fundamental to the claims of the climate change lobby. Being a professional in Disaster and Emergency Management, this is an important question for worst-case planning purposes; relating to claims of catastrophic sea level rise due to ice melt. I have not found anything reliable online, so perhaps someone could crunch the numbers and post them here based on the following:
    IF we assume global warming is actually happening and that all ice accumulations in the world (including both poles and all glaciers) melt; and assuming ALL melt waters then go directly into the oceans (with NO diversion to lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, aquifers, etc or atmosphere) then exactly how much will sea levels world-wide change?
    The fear mongers are claiming anywhere from 1-7 metres (sometime more) depending on who is speaking. (Of course, we have ample evidence that the arctic ice is growing, Glaciers in Northern Canada are recovering, and a similar effect is being observed in the Antarctic; but lets just play this what if game out.)
    What does the actual math say?

    • rossbrisbane says:

      Melting glaciers in northern Italy reveal corpses of WW1 soldiers. The glaciers of the Italian Alps are slowly melting to reveal horrors from the Great War, preserved for nearly a century…….

      Sea level rise is expected to continue for centuries.[13] In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that during the 21st century, sea level will rise another 18 to 59 cm (7.1 to 23.2 in), but these numbers do not include “uncertainties in climate-carbon cycle feedbacks nor do they include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow”.[1]

      More recent projections assessed by the US National Research Council (2010)[15] suggest possible sea level rise over the 21st century of between 56 and 200 cm (22 and 79 in).

      On the timescale of centuries to millennia, the melting of ice sheets could result in even higher sea level rise. Partial deglaciation of the Greenland ice sheet, and possibly the West Antarctic ice sheet, could contribute 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) or more to sea level rise.

      Solomon et al., Technical Summary, Section 3.4 Consistency Among Observations, in IPCC AR4 WG1 2007; Hegerl et al., Executive summary, Section 1.3: Consistency of changes in physical and biological systems with warming, in IPCC AR4 SYR 2007.

      Hegerl et al., Chapter 9: Understanding and Attributing Climate Change, in IPCC AR4 WG1 2007.

      America’s Climate Choices: Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES (2010). ” Sea Level Rise and the Coastal Environment”. Advancing the Science of Climate Change. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. p. 245. ISBN 978-0-309-14588-6. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
      ^ Jump up to: a b IPCC, Topic 3, Section 3.2.1: 21st century global changes, p. 45, in IPCC AR4 SYR 2007.

      America’s Climate Choices: Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES (2010). ” Sea Level Rise and the Coastal Environment”. Advancing the Science of Climate Change. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. pp. 243250. ISBN 978-0-309-14588-6. Retrieved 2011-06-17. “(From pg 250)

      Even if sea-level rise were to remain in the conservative range projected by the IPCC (0.61.9 feet [0.180.59 m])not considering potentially much larger increases due to rapid decay of the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheetstens of millions of people worldwide would become vulnerable to flooding due to sea-level rise over the next 50 years (Nicholls, 2004; Nicholls and Tol, 2006). This is especially true in densely populated, low-lying areas with limited ability to erect or establish protective measures. In the United States, the high end of the conservative IPCC estimate would result in the loss of a large portion of the nation’s remaining coastal wetlands. The impact on the east and Gulf coasts of the United States of 3.3 feet (1 m) of sea-level rise, which is well within the range of more recent projections for the 21st century (e.g., Pfeffer et al., 2008; Vermeer and Rahmstorf, 2009), is shown in pink in Figure 7.7. Also shown, in red, is the effect of 19.8 feet (6 m) of sea-level rise, which could occur over the next several centuries if warming were to continue unabated.”

      • Bill Sparling says:

        Perhaps, we could hear from somebody who isn’t dredging up nonsense. (Glaciers do move, and spit out objects you know. BTW, you are refering to bodies from the WW1 battle that gave Rommel his initial fame- in the lowermost reaches of the Alps, bodering the lower edge of the glacier.)

        I am looking for legitimate calculations not cut & paste biased press releases and yellow journalism.

      • Chris says:

        Predications of this type have been made in the past, and the predications did not come true. It even appears that the predications were erased from the historical record.

        Research into the effects of a 6m rise in sea level seem a little premature, and I don’t think it is an effect use of my taxpayer dollars.

        If climate change research can’t make useful predications, then we should spend less money on it.

    • Alicia says:

      I would also be interested in seeing the math with accurate figures instead of the blatant falsehoods being put out by the “interested parties”.

  11. Hot Potato says:

    The Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, claims that he had no warning of impending inclement weather. Apparently he doesn’t visit Roy’s blog or listen to the National Weather Service.

    They’re naming winter storms now? Good grief. What next? Naming droughts? Naming heatwaves? Naming arctic blasts? Naming thunderstorms? When is enough, enough?

    Everyone’s pointing fingers at each other, but there’s a lot of blame to go around. Atlanta traffic is not tenable. Unless something is done, unless something gives, nightmare events like this will become more ubiquitous and people will just learn to acclimate to it.

    The mayor is wrong. They won’t get better at the snow business. They haven’t gotten better at the snow business. The snow was only the catalyst for testing the limits of this complex and out-of-control system.

    • Bil Danielson says:

      HP, I agree there are some serious issues with the average driving ability of Atlantans. Couple that with 2.5 inches of snow and you’ve got snowmageddon on your hands. Having said that, there needs to be accountability for those in charge of deploying the “assets” Atlanta does have. It appears there was an issue with marshalling those assets relative to both the existence of a warning status, and the projected snowfall locations. The governor attempted to deflect some of the criticism on less than dire predictions and no warning status from NWS, but this is plainly false. I personally pulled up the NWS Weather Advisory for Atlanta on Monday, and then noted it early Tuesday morning when the advisory was upgraded to Warning status calling for several inches of snow in the Atlanta metro. The schools should not have opened, and the roads should have been pre-treated with as many “assets” as possible marshaled into the metro. Had those to measures been taken (and there was ample time to launch both from 4am to 11am), it would have mitigated the situation on the roads substantially.

      Clearly they did not take the upgrade to warning (which occurred at 338 am on Tuesday morning ) serious enough, soon enough. The Atlanta metro needs to take priority when push comes to shove knowing what they know (and should have clearly learned) from 2011. The financial stakes, let alone the sheer number of people involved, dictates erring on the side of the metro.. Its pretty clear to me they (both infrastructure management and the various school districts) simply screwed this up and dont want to acknowledge it fully.

      Im sorry, but the warning AND the projection were out there well enough in advance to have made a difference.

      • Hot Potato says:

        I wouldn’t disagree with any of that, Bill. Nice analysis and breakdown of the situation. Of course, AGW advocacy doesn’t help. If the models are all predicting warmer winters not colder, as a politician why would you make the decision to invest tens of millions in snow remediation equipment? Another part of the problem in Atlanta and many other cities, especially in the South, is competing and overlapping jurisdictions. There’s no coordinating organization that brings this all together collaboratively, and it’s obvious from this latest debacle that one is sorely needed.

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