National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heavy Snow and Ice Event of January 9-10, 2011


On the morning of Sunday, January 9th, a low pressure system formed in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Texas coast.  This low pressure system traveled parallel to the Gulf Coast throughout the day on Sunday and into the day on Monday before moving over the Florida Panhandle and off the Atlantic Seaboard Monday night.  Even though the system weakened as it moved eastward, it brought moisture across Central Alabama, where cold temperatures were already in place from a cold front that had moved through Friday and Saturday, the 7th and 8th of January.

sfc analysis  sfc analysis

                                       Surface Analysis from 6 PM Sunday                      Surface Analysis from 12 AM Monday

sfc analysis  sfc analysis

                                       Surface Analysis from 6 AM Monday                      Surface Analysis from 12 PM Monday

By noon on Sunday, weak reflectivities were already on the radar, though, it wasn't until about 2 PM that afternoon when Tuscaloosa began reporting unknown precipitation.  The bulk of the activity started later that evening, but because of an elevated warm layer of air that moved inland as the low pressure system passed to the south of Alabama, the southern half of the county warning area didn't receive any snow -- just ice and sleet.  By daybreak Monday morning, areas north of Interstate 20 were reporting anywhere from 1 to 14 inches of snow with the heaviest totals near the Alabama-Tennessee state line.  Ice reports were as high as 0.50 inches in multiple counties south of Interstate 20.

Snow and Ice Totals

The ice and snow from Sunday night and Monday morning created havoc across most of the state.  By Sunday evening, businesses and schools had already declared they would be closed on Monday and for good reason.  Road conditions around central Alabama caused many counties to declare that roads would be closed overnight Sunday night.  Unfortunately, this winter weather event caused the loss of at least 2 lives on area roadways because of slick conditions.  

Though the majority of the activity was over by Monday night, the effects of the system were felt for the next couple of days.  Areas that saw excessive amounts of snow were plagued with melting and refreezing on area roadways for the next couple of days, creating slick conditions through Wednesday, January 12th.

Sleet in Maylene  Snow in Oneonta

                              Sleet in Maylene, AL.  Storm Totals of 2.5 inches.                        Snow in Oneonta, AL.

                                        Submitted by Kristina Sumrall.                                   Submitted by Blount County EMA.

Snow in St. Clair  Snow in Pell City

                                  Snow at the courthouse in St. Clair County.                        Snow in downtown Pell City. 

                                           Submitted by Patrice Payne.                                      Submitted by Patrice Payne.

Satellite of Snow

Visible Satellite Image of Snow 3 Days Later

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