|Snow on the Alabama/Florida border in 2010. This|
might happen again this week.
The front caused an intense ground blizzard in the Midwest Sunday. (A ground blizzard comes when it's not snowing hard, or not at all, but strong winds blow snow and reduce visibility to near zero).
In parts of the Dakotas yesterday, they had to close Interstate highways because of the bad visibility.
Here in Vermont and surrounding states, roads are getting bad in places visibilities were briefly falling to near zero in spots as snow squall pass by.
Temperatures that were flirting with the freezing mark this morning will crash this afternoon, and we'll have to deal with another round of wicked cold wind chills, down as low as 30 below later today, tonight and Tuesday morning.
We've dealt with that before. We get it every winter. We'll deal.
The real news with this Arctic cold front will come when it hits the Gulf Coast and the Southeast Coast.
Such "wintry" places such as New Orleans, Louisiana, Savannah, Georgia and even Pensacola, Florida are under winter storm watches and warnings.
You read that right. Those areas are in for a nasty ice storm, and/or several inches of snow. Moisture coming up from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean will combine with the cold air to produce the storm.
Some areas in a stripe from Houston to coastal South Carolina might get a really bad ice storm, complete with blocked roads, fallen trees and powerlines and general chaos.
Picture the bad, damaging ice storm we had in northern New York and Vermont back in December hitting the palm-lined streets and sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast and Southeast and you can imagine how bad things could get down there tomorrow.
Here's the dire warning to the public in coastal South Carolina and around the Savannah, Georgia area from the National Weather Service in Charleston, South Carolina:
BECOME DANGEROUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. PREPARE TO REMAIN IN A SAFE SHELTER WITHOUT ELECTRICITY FOR SEVERAL DAYS. OBTAIN VITAL SUPPLIES SUCH AS POTABLE WATER...NON-PERISHABLE FOOD...MEDICINE... BATTERIES...FLASHLIGHTS...A BATTERY POWERED RADIO AND AN ALTERNATE HEAT SOURCE SUCH AS A GENERATOR...NON- ELECTRIC SPACE HEATER OR WOOD FOR YOUR FIREPLACE.
So yeah, it's bad.
From a historical perspective, big winter storms have hit that area of the South before, but not often.
According to weather historian Christopher Burt, a storm in February, 1895 dumped 20" of snow on Houston, Texas, 22" In Lake Charles, Louisiana, 8.2" in New Orleans, and 3" in Pensacola.
In 1899, 2.1" was reported in Pensacola.
On Jan. 19, 1977, snowflakes were seen in the air in the suburbs of Miami, Fla.
I couldn't find much on Deep South ice storms, which tells me they're pretty damn rare. We'll see how this plays out.