National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

A Big Snow for North Central Alabama, But Was it the Biggest Ever?

As everyone now knows, a big snowstorm occurred across North-Central Alabama on Wednesday, with the heavy accumulating snows generally north of the Interstate 20 corridor.  Widespread snowfall of six or more inches occurred across much of this area, with totals to around one foot in the northwest sections, as seen in the table below.
 

Station (County)

Snowfall Feb. 25, 2015 (Inches)

Guin (Marion)

12.5

Haleyville (Winton)

12

Hamilton (Marion)

11

Jasper (Walker)

11

Sulligent (Lamar)

11

Oneonta (Blount)

9

Cedar Bluff  (Cherokee)

8

Gadsden (Etowah)

7.5

Vernon (Lamar)

7

Fayette  (Fayette)

7

How does this event compare to some of the biggest snowstorms that have affected North-Central Alabama?

The "Granddaddy" of them all would have to be the Superstorm of March, 1993.  During this storm, snowfall of twelve to eighteen inches blanketed much of the area from around Birmingham northeast to the Georgia state line.  During this storm, the Birmingham Airport officially measured thirteen inches of snow, with thirteen inches also recorded in Anniston.  In the Gadsden area, totals well over a foot were common with up to twenty one inches reported in Walnut Grove.   Over the northwest sections of Central Alabama, totals of four to eight inches were common.

Another big snowstorm that comes to mind occurred from December 31, 1963 into January 1, 1964.  This New Year's Eve snowstorm dumped heavy snowfall all across North-Central Alabama, with fourteen inches in Hamilton, twelve inches in Vernon, eleven inches in Fayette, ten inches in Aliceville and Heflin, nine inches in Oneonta and over eight inches in Birmingham.

Some of the historic biggest snowfalls for selected stations are given in the table below: 

Station (County)

Snowfall (Inches)

Date

Hamilton (Marion)

14

12/31/1963 - 01/01/1964

 

7.5

01/28/1966 - 01/30/1966

 

7.2

02/01/1985 - 02/02/1985

Vernon (Lamar)

12.5

01/23/1940 - 01/24/1940

 

12

12/31/1963 - 01/01/1964

 

10.3

02/13/1960 - 02/14/1960

 

9

01/23/1940 - 01/24/1940

Fayette (Fayette)

14

01/23/1940 - 01/24/1940

 

11

12/31/1963 - 01/01/1064

 

10

01/16/1893 - 01/17/1893

Carbon Hill (Walker)

12

01/23/1940 - 01/24/1940

 

11

12/31/1963 - 01/01/1964

Oneonta (Blount)

16

03/12/1993 - 03/13/1993

 

12.5

01/23/1940 - 01/24/1940

 

9

12/31/1963 - 01/01/1964

So, as you can see, there have been other big snowstorms that have affected North-Central Alabama and the one on Wednesday was not a record-breaker. Still, this was quite a snowstorm that will long be remembered by those that experienced it.

Finally, let's take a final look at how this storm relates to snowfall events that occurred only in February.  Looking through past weather records, it is rather hard to find many storms in February that have produced snowfall totals comparable to those on Wednesday.  A snowstorm on February 13-14, 1960 produced 10.3 inches of snow in Vernon and 13.5 inches of snow in Haleyville.  On February 2-3, 1985, 7.2 inches of snow was measured in Hamilton. Oneonta received 5 inches of snow during a storm on February 25-26, 1914, and Jacksonville received 5 inches on Feb. 14-15, 1958.  Most other February snowfall totals during a single storm have been less than five inches.  So, from this perspective, this was a rather historic February snowstorm for Central Alabama.