National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

February 11-12, 2014 Winter Storm

Event Summary

A series of complex weather systems affected the ArkLaMiss on February 11-12, 2014. A strong cold front moved through during the late afternoon to evening hours of February 9th, dropping temperatures from the mid to upper 60s into the mid 30s in the northwest Delta to mid 40s along I-20 corridor to mid 50s in the southeast late Sunday night. Strong 1036mb surface high pressure continued to build into the northern and central Great Plains, aiding in northerly surface winds and colder air moving into the region. Temperatures by the evening of February 10th had fallen to near freezing in the ArkLaMiss Delta to mid 30s in the Interstate 20 corridor to low 40s in the far southeast.

As temperatures continued to fall, the first upper disturbance began to moisten the atmosphere to bring potential for freezing precipitation mainly along and north of the Interstate 20 corridor. The upper disturbance provided enough lift and moisture moving north for showers and steady rainfall to gradually move into the southern portions of the ArkLaMiss in the early morning hours of February 10th. The rain continued to increase and overspread the colder air in the northern portions of the region. Northerly surface winds were coming off of the snowpack in eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi, which helped to reinforce the colder air in the northern portions of the region. A deep warm layer aloft present in the atmosphere aided in complete melting of the frozen precipitation before falling into the shallow, subfreezing layer situated underneath. This caused rain droplets to fall and accumulate as freezing rain across the northern half of the area. There were some places in the far northwest that the warm layer was not as warm or as deep, where sleet was possible. The western and northern portions received accumulation of freezing rain on the early morning hours of February 11th. Most accumulations of freezing rain and sleet were between 0.1-0.2 inches in the northern areas. Many roads and bridges across the northern half of the region froze over and travel was extremely hazardous, which led to numerous accidents. The freezing line was stayed situated just on the northern fringe of the Jackson metro. South of the freezing line received just a cold rain. The precipitation and upper disturbance moved out in the late morning hours of February 11th. This alone was a significant weather event but more was in store for the ArkLaMiss for later that afternoon to evening.

There was a small break from precipitation during the early afternoon hours of February 11th, before a stronger and more potent upper level system moved in the area. This system was deeper and had stronger lift and colder air in the mid-level s of the atmosphere. The associated lift from the upper level system aided in low pressure development in the northern Gulf of Mexico and widespread precipitation overspreading from the southwest in the mid to late afternoon hours of February 11th. Areas previously affected by freezing rain and sleet in the morning were the main places impacted by wintry precipitation beginning late in the afternoon of February 11th. Colder air aloft in the far northwest portions of the Delta provided a very sharp gradient in precipitation type. Snow, sleet and freezing rain fell across this region late in the afternoon to evening hours of February 11th. The low pressure began to move gradually move east late February 11th into early February 12th and most of the heavy rain along and south of Interstate 20 also departed. Consistent drizzle and light rainfall stayed in the northern portions of the region on Wednesday, February 12th, with colder air aloft moving in from the upper level low over the ArkLaMiss. The precipitation lingered on the back and northwest side of the departing low pressure, aiding in chances for more wintry precipitation. Some light freezing rain, drizzle and sleet continued through the afternoon of February 12th, mainly in the northern half of the region. This occurred in areas that already had frozen precipitation in northeast Louisiana, southeast Arkansas and northwest Mississippi Delta and highs only reached right around the freezing mark. This additional freezing precipitation only magnified the icing and hazardous travel. As colder air cooled the melting layer aloft, a rain or snow mix was possible and rain transitioned from sleet and rain to snow in east and northeast Mississippi, especially in the Golden Triangle. Some light accumulations occurred, especially in Lowndes County near Columbus, with up to around 1.0-1.5 inches. All of the heavy rain and precipitation finally moved out late in the evening hours of February 12th. Temperatures fell into the low to mid 20s in the early February 13th but warmed above freezing in later that morning and began to quickly melt the frozen precipitation. 

Maximum Ice Accumulation Map/Snow, Sleet Accumulation Map - click map to enlarge
Ice Accumulation Map Snow and Sleet Accumulation Map


The combination of snow, freezing rain and ice on February 11th and 12th, led to widespread icing across northeast Louisiana, southeast Arkansas and northern and northwest Mississippi. Areas in northeast Mississippi reached just slightly above freezing on February 11th, enough to alleviate some travel issues. The ArkLaMiss Delta was hit with a fairly significant ice storm as near 0.5 to 1.0 inches of ice accumulated on roads, powerlines and trees. Many trees fell, with some causing damages to homes and powerlines. Numerous power outages were reported from the weight of the ice and falling trees. Numerous accidents occurred across the region from mornings of February 11-12 due to icy roads, with one shutting down portions of Interstate 20 across the Mississippi River bridge near Vicksburg and two others resulting in two fatalities in northern portions of Central Mississippi. 1-2 inches of snow and sleet fell across the far northwestern Delta, mainly in far southeast Arkansas in Ashley and Chicot counties from Montrose to Lake Village to far northern Washington County, north of Greenville, to southern Bolivar and western Sunflower counties. Some lighter accumulations of around 0.25 inches occurred even as far east as Grenada. Up to 1.0 inches of sometimes a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain occurred in areas to the southeast of the heavier snowfall in the far northwestern Delta. This was the third significant winter weather system to affect the ArkLaMiss for the early winter months of January and February 2014. 

In addition to the wintry weather that occurred in the far northwestern portions of the region, heavy rainfall occurred in areas that temperatures stayed above freezing. Rainfall amounts from February 10-13 ranged between 1-3 inches mainly along and south of the Interstate 20 corridor with some places in far south-central Mississippi receiving between 4-5 inches of rainfall.


Storm Total Precipitation
This map shows observed precipitation totals from across the NWS Jackson forecast area. Please note that this includes totals from both rain and frozen precipitation.
Precipitation Totals