Blog: Dixie Alley Prepares for Major Winter Storm


Chief Meteorologist Jennifer Rukavina

A major winter storm sets it eyes on Dixie Alley, most known for its frequent outbreaks of tornadoes, not several inches of snow.

Forecasters from Memphis, TN to Birmingham, AL to Atlanta, GA are preparding their residents for a rare heavy snow event expected to bring several inches of snow to the Deep South Sunday into Monday.

A week ago it looked like this system was going to track far enough north to spread the accumulating snow into our region by Sunday. (Our forecast details in a moment...) The computer models have consistently shifted that chance further south and as low pressure develops near the Gulf of Mexico and tracks northeastward, the moisture will lend itself to 5-8 inches (isolated higher amounts) of snow across Northern Mississippi, Southern Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and Northern Georgia.

While 5-7 inches of snow sounds like an average snowstorm for our area, this will likely have high impacts on those states. Plows are hard to come by and many southern states lack the more plentiful pre-treating resources that most of our local states have. To give you a better idea of how rare storms like this are for the South, in Northern Alamaba, they average 1.6 inches of snow for an entire winter.

I read a tweet yesterday that made me giggle and most of you will identify because we are just far enough south in the US to relate..."French Toast Alert!"...the rush on bread, eggs, and milk before a big snow. :)

As for our forecast, snow is not completely out of the forecast. The aformentioned snowstorm will clip some of our TN counties late Sunday night into Monday leaving 1, possibly 2 inches of snow in Carroll, Gibson, and Dyer along with flurries north of there. Clouds will stream in across the rest of the area.

On Monday night on into Tuesday, an upper level distrubance will swing out of the Plains and across our area to spread light snow into the 4-state. Early model projections show as much as 3 inches across Southern Illinois and 1-2 across along and south of the Ohio River. It will be interesting to see how both systems play out.

If there are any major changes in the computer models, I will update the blog and re-post. If you are a Twitter user, here are some good hash tags to use to watch what is going on to the south of us over the weekend! (#alwx, #mswx) Here are some of my favorite follows for Meteorologists in the south. (spann, GregNordstrom, Derek_Beasley, JimCantore, wxchannel)