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Overview Surface Analysis & Upper Air Charts Snow & Ice Totals
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The Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast States were impacted by a rather significant winter storm during the period of January 28-30, 2014. Central Alabama had it's encounter with the system on Tuesday, January 28th, when freezing rain and snow fell across much of the area. Below is a recap of the event across NWS Birmingham's county warning area. 

The snow event on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, really began two days earlier on Sunday the 26th.  On that Sunday afternoon, it was nearly unfathomable that conditions were going to be so radically different in just a mere 48 hours.  Temperatures were near 60 degrees in the northern sections of Central Alabama, while further south, it was even warmer with temperatures rising into the middle 60s in the Montgomery area.  This led to the first forecast problem, the warmer ground and especially the warmer road temperatures. 

As we went into Monday, a major change was taking place as yet another arctic front was headed south across the area.  Most of the region warmed rapidly during the morning through the mid afternoon hours, but just a few hours after sunset most locations had dropped well into the 20s with really dry air diving southward.  In fact, several dew points registered in the negative digits.  This drier air only served to re-enforce the already problematic forecast by making it difficult to determine exactly how long it would take to moisten the atmosphere on Tuesday.  The issue of just how far north the winter precipitation would fall was also a huge concern considering the extrememly low dew points that were in place across portions of the area. 

By early Tuesday, it was apparent that a lot of moisture was moving into the area, and those negative dew points were quickly rising. Meanwhile, the surface temperatures were dropping in conjunction with the heavy precipitation, and most surface temperatures were struggling to get past 20 degrees!  This caused huge forecast headaches because the atmosphere had moistened so quickly that snow up north and sleet and freezing rain south were already beginning to reach the ground several hours earlier than anticipated.  The next forecast issue was the colder than forecast surface temperatures that were allowing the snow ratios to be nearly 20:1, almost unheard of in Alabama.  (Typically snow to liquid ratios are around 10:1 in our part of the country.)  Thirdly, even though there was a lot of dry air across the northern half of the state, the snow rates were just heavy enough to allow snow to accumulate further north than originally forecast.  Finally, and the worst impact of all - those warm temperatures from Sunday and early Monday allowed the first layer of snow to melt on contact and refreeze as a sheet of ice on all the roadways in the 20 degree weather.  This led to all of the traffic nightmares across the entire area and people being stranded for many hours Tuesday! 

In the end, Alabama State Troopers responded to 731 vehicle accidents across the state during the period Tuesday through Friday (Jan 28th-31st).  Sadly, there were nine deaths attributed to accidents that occurred due to the icy road conditions.  Snowfall totals across Central Alabama ranged from zero in the far northwest to 2-3 inches in a corridor from Chilton County northeast to Randolph County.  Prior to the snowfall, some counties in the southeast half of the state reported up to 0.25 inches of ice accumulation.


Surface Analysis & Upper Air Charts

6 AM January 28th

250mb Chart at 12Z January 28th  500mb Chart at 12Z January 28th  250mb Chart at 12Z January 28th

                              250 mb Chart                                             500 mb Chart                                                 850 mb Chart

Surface Analysis at 12Z January 28th  Surface Analysis & Radar at 12Z January 28th  KBMX Sounding at 12Z January 28th

                        Surface Analysis                                    Surface Analysis & Radar                                      KBMX Sounding

12 PM January 28th

Surface Analysis at 18Z January 28th  Surface Analysis & Radar at 18Z January 28th

                                                             Surface Analysis                                  Surface Analysis & Radar

6 PM January 28th

250mb Chart at 00Z January 29th  500mb Chart at 00Z January 29th  250mb Chart at 00Z January 29th

                           250 mb Chart                                                 500 mb Chart                                               850 mb Chart

Surface Analysis at 00Z January 29th  Surface Analysis & Radar at 00Z January 29th  KBMX Sounding at 00Z January 29th

                         Surface Analysis                                   Surface Analysis & Radar                                         KBMX Sounding


Snow & Ice Totals

Preliminary Snowfall Totals

For a complete list of all snow and ice reports received during/after the event, click here.



Birmingham Area


    Birmingham Area, Courtesy of    Birmingham, Courtesy of   Birmingham Airport, Courtesy of   Kent Dairy Road in Alabaster                                                                                                                                                                                                      Courtesy of Melissa Overall            


                         Downtown Birmingham                          Highway 280                  Interstate 65 at Highway 31             Interstate 459 North

                    Courtesy of @bethgregoryrn              Courtesy of @mws4ua                  Courtesy of                 Courtesy of Jason Reed


           Interstate 65 at Alford Ave            Jefferson State Community College                        Chelsea                                       Highway 280

           Courtesy of Brenda Smith                   Courtesy of Perry Seahorn                    Courtesy of Scott Crane                  Courtesy of Fox 6 WBRC


                                                Calera Wal-Mart                        Interstate 20 at Leeds Exit                                  Pelham

                                        Courtesy of John Barbieri               Courtesy of ABC 33/40 Viewer           Courtesy of Matthew Duplantis


                                                      Birmingham Area               Interstate 65 at Valleydale Road                  Hueytown

                                                Courtesy of Matt Layton           Courtesy of Abraham Mahmoud      Courtesy of Mandy Monk 



                        Bryant-Denny Stadium              Gallion Area (Hale County)                          Selma                               Sprott (Perry County)

                   Courtesy of ABC 33/40 Viewer     Courtesy of Michael Clemmer   Courtesy of Selma Times Journal      Courtesy of Fox 6 Viewer


                                                                                Valley Grande                                          Cuba

                                                                       Courtesy of Susan Smith                 Courtesy of Randy Vaughan



           Blount Park in Montgomery                            State Capital                                 Riverwalk Stadium                                      Equality

          Courtesy of Russ McKinney                        Courtesy of WSFA                   Courtesy of Box Aviation/WSFA        Courtesy of Alton & Debbie John


                                    Clanton                                       Prattville                                 Auburn University                          Troy University                              

               Courtesy of        Courtesy of City of Prattville          Courtesy of The Plainsman         Courtesy of Troy University



      Highway 21 in North Coosa County          Highway 21 in Rockford                     Highway 21 in Sylacauga                         Tallapoosa River

           Courtesy of Stephan Frank               Courtesy of Stephan Frank                 Courtesy of Stephan Frank                Courtesy of Debbie White


                        Lake Martin                                         Lake Martin                            Talladega Superspeedway                             Wedowee

            Courtesy of Mac McNair                     Courtesy of Pam Alexander                Courtesy of FOX 6 Viewer               Courtesy of Randolph Co EMA


                                                      Randolph County                                  New Site                                    Tallassee

                                            Courtesy of Randolph Co EMA         Courtesy of WSFA Viewer       Courtesy of Hannelore Copeland



            McClellan Blvd in Anniston                              Piedmont                             Veterans Parkway in Anniston                       Donoho School

         Courtesy of The Anniston Star          Courtesy of The Anniston Star             Courtesy of The Anniston Star            Courtesy of The Anniston Star


                Mt Cheaha Area                                          Munford                                               Oxford                                            Hackneyville

        Courtesy of Anonymous                       Courtesy of Stephan Frank              Courtesy of The Anniston Star               Courtesy of Denise Walls


       Highway 77 Coosa River Bridge             Interstate 20 Pell City Exit                                 Anniston                            Pleasant Valley Road (Calhoun 

     Courtesy of Margie M. Richardson           Courtesy of Susan Griffin                   Courtesy of Hayes Jackson             County) Courtesy of Tara Hood


                                           Gadsden                                 Noccalula Falls                                   Jacksonville State University 

                         Courtesy of ABC 33/40 Viewer      Courtesy of ABC 33/40 Viewer                         Courtesy of Fox 6 Viewer



Aerial video of south/east Birmingham (YouTube) - Courtesy of Kevin Henderson (

Ground Report from Birmingham - Courtesy of Robert Stevenson (FOX 6)


Other Links

NWS Peachtree City, GA

NWS Jackson, MS

NWS Morehead City, NC

NWS Columbia, SC