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An unusually early and heavy snowstorm dropped over 6 inches of snow in 17 states from Texas to Maine, with a foot or more in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. Although the storm was forecast in advance, amounts were much higher than what most media outlets were predicting. The storm began Thursday night in Texas, spread snow across the southeast on Friday, then moved to the mid-Atlantic and New England Saturday. Final amounts looked like this (click to enlarge; ignore the lake-effect snow in the Great Lakes, which fell Wednesday to Friday):
With very cold air expected up until Dec. 25, some of these areas may qualify for a White Christmas. The highest amounts by state were:
An extraordinarily heavy swath of more than 8-12 inches of snow stretched from Alabama into the Georgia and North Carolina mountains (click to enlarge):
These are the top 10 amounts observed during the storm:
Even Florida got in on the action!
The big cities in the South received record snow, but from the Carolinas to New England, the meteropolis' amounts were low:
NOTE: New Orleans, Houston, Montgomery, Charlotte and Raleigh saw less than an inch of snow, in several cases only a "trace." Most of the low estimates were from airports, which are often lower elevation or farther southeast than the city itself. Higher numbers were other amounts reported in the metro areas (outer beltloops in most cases).
Houston hadn't seen snow since 2011, and Atlanta barely knew what to do with it.
Across the south, hundreds of thousands lost power with the heavy snow. In Jackson, Mississippi, it was the single-biggest snowfall on record since 1982. In North Carolina, it caused many traffic accidents.
Technically, the storm came in two parts. The southern storm moved from Texas through Delaware and out to sea; the coastal storm took over to drop snow from Virginia through New England. Here are Google Earth images showing the NOAA NOHRSC data (multiply by ~10 to convert melted precip to snow):
Here's an animation of the snow that was on the ground this morning. There is snowcover over 29 percent of the country, which is higher than usual, but lower than the same day in 2016 (35 percent).
Here are some selected animations from my GREarth Windows app, including radar, pressure, observations, Local Storm Reports, and more:
The storm was first predicted a week in advance by AccuWeather; this graphic is from Sunday, Dec. 3.
By Tuesday morning, we knew that the Southeast was going to be in for some trouble Friday:
Our final snowfall forecast map on Friday afternoon echoes the final totals map above.
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