Jump to content

March 11-15 1993 Storm of The Century

NorthGeorgiaWX

329 views

sotc.thumb.jpg.fb5784adf7e5e81f149d16ad9e628d27.jpg

If you were around here back on this date in 1993, you were waking up to one of the greatest storms to ever hit the US, the Storm of The Century. I had never been in a storm like this, so it made for a surreal experience for me, and unfortunately, I took ZERO pictures of the storm itself. I had a heavily wooded back yard, and I remember looking out over the yard while the storm was at its peak. The skies were VERY dark, darker than a normal thunderstorm, I'm guessing because of all of the thick snow that was falling. The winds were howling. I remember thinking this is what I had always dreamed of since I was a kid... when all of a sudden BOOM!!! The sky literally glowed! I'm assuming the eerie glow was because of all the heavy snow that was falling. It wasn't like a regular lightning flash nor was it like a regular clap of thunder. It was muted/muffled for sight and sound. Again... surreal is the only word I can think of that describes that experience. Thunderstorms with snow. I mean really, if you love snow, it doesn't get any better than this. 🙂

So... .let's take a look at this storm a little closer in case you missed it. 

1993_storm_century.jpg.076b371f3f3315ee8aaf4433658c49a2.jpg

 

From the NWS - (https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/1993-snow-storm-of-the-century)

Quote

On March 12–14, 1993, a massive storm system bore down on nearly half of the U.S. population. Causing approximately $5.5 billion in damages ($9.8 billion in 2019 dollars), America’s “Storm of the Century,” as it would become known, swept from the Deep South all the way up the East Coast. Before the monster storm system developed over the East, it spun up over Texas, bringing damaging winds and hail to southeastern areas of the Lone Star state the evening of March 11. With a central pressure usually found only in Category 3 hurricanes, the storm spawned tornadoes and left coastal flooding, crippling snow, and bone-chilling cold in its wake. Of the more than 200 weather and climate events with damages exceeding $1 billion since 1980, this storm remains the country’s most costly winter storm to date.

 

Snowfall amounts were tremendous.

Quote

During the height of the storm, snowfall rates of 2–3 inches per hour occurred. New York’s Catskill Mountains along with most of the central and southern Appalachians received at least 2 feet of snow. Wind-driven sleet also fell on parts of the East Coast, with central New Jersey reporting 2.5 inches of sleet on top of 12 inches of snow—creating somewhat of an “ice-cream sandwich” effect. Up to 6 inches of snow even blanketed the Florida Panhandle.

Some particularly notable snowfall totals included:

  • 56 inches at Mount LeConte, Tennessee
  • 50 inches at Mount Mitchell, North Carolina, with 14-foot drifts
  • 44 inches at Snowshoe, West Virginia
  • 43 inches at Syracuse, New York
  • 36 inches at Latrobe, Pennsylvania, with 10-foot drifts

Over the south, Birmingham received more than a foot of snow, the Atlanta airport received 4.5", while the northern suburbs received more than 10". The Atlanta NWS reported "Total snowfall by late evening averaged 18 to 24 inches from Rome to Clayton with near 30 inches from Fannin to Union Counties. Snow drifts up to 10 feet high were reported". I had around 10" at my house in Dacula, but it was hard to measure since the wind blew it around so much.

Some additional totals from the Wilmington NC NWS office:

Quote
Location Amount
Mount Mitchell, NC 50 in. Some snow remained on the ground until April 12th
Chattanooga, TN 20 in.
Asheville, NC 18.2 in.
Lake Lure, NC 18 in.
Ellijay, GA 17 in.
Birmingham, AL 17 in.
Lenoir, NC 13 in.
Hickory, NC 10 in.
Greenville-Spartanburg, SC 9.8 in.
Lincolnton, NC 9.2 in.
Greensboro, NC 5.7 in.
Mobile, AL 3 in.
Charlotte, NC 1.6 in.
Siler City, NC 1.5 in.
Columbia, SC 1.2 in.
Raleigh, NC 0.9 in.

 

Here's the summary from the Atlanta NWS office

Quote

In 1993, the 'Storm of the Century' produced record amounts of snow across north Georgia. Wind gusts near 65 mph across extreme north Georgia produced blizzard conditions as visibilities dropped to zero in many areas. Total snowfall by late evening averaged 18 to 24 inches from Rome to Clayton with near 30 inches from Fannin to Union Counties. Snow drifts up to 10 feet high were reported. In Murray, Whitfield and Gordon Counties in northwest Georgia, damage estimates to businesses and homes were over $300 million. Over 120 carpet businesses in northwest Georgia were destroyed or damaged from high wind or the weight of heavy snow. Over 90 chicken houses were destroyed in north Georgia killing at least 1.3 million chickens. Thousands of trees were uprooted with damage costs of wood products and cleanup estimated at $5 to $10 million. Travel across extreme north Georgia, especially along the I-75 corridor, was brought to a standstill for up to a week following the blizzard conditions.

 

The impacts of the storm went far beyond the snow totals, with tornadoes, extreme winds, storm surge, and record cold. All in all, 318 people died as a result of the storm. 

The development of the storm shows how the perfect setup brought the perfect storm.

Quote

During March 11 and 12, 1993, temperatures over much of the eastern United States began to drop as an arctic high pressure system built over the Midwest and Great Plains. Concurrently, an extratropical area of low pressure formed over Mexico along a stationary front draped west to east. By the afternoon of March 12, a defined airmass boundary was present along the deepening low. An initial burst of convective precipitation off the southern coast of Texas (facilitated by the transport of tropical moisture into the region) enabled initial intensification of the surface feature on March 12. Supported by a strong split-polar jet stream and a shortwave trough, the nascent system rapidly deepened.[6] The system's central pressure fell to 991 mbar (29.26 inHg) by 00:00 UTC on March 13. A powerful low-level jet over eastern Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico enhanced a cold front extending from the low southward to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Furthermore, the subtropical jet stream was displaced unusually far south, reaching into the Pacific Ocean near Central America and extending toward Honduras and Jamaica. Intense ageostrophic flow was noted over the southern United States, with winds flowing perpendicular to isobars over Louisiana.[6]

As the area of low pressure moved through the central Gulf of Mexico, a short wave trough in the northern branch of the jet stream fused with the system in the southern stream, which further strengthened the surface low. A squall line developed along the system's cold front, which moved rapidly across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through Florida and Cuba.[6] The cyclone's center moved into north-west Florida early on the morning of March 13, with a significant storm surge in the northwestern Florida peninsula that drowned several people.

Barometric pressures recorded during the storm were low. Readings of 976.0 millibars (28.82 inHg) were recorded in Tallahassee, Florida, and even lower readings of 960.0 millibars (28.35 inHg) were observed in New England. Low pressure records for March were set in areas of twelve states along the Eastern Seaboard,[7] with all-time low pressure records set between Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.[8] Snow began to spread over the eastern United States, and a large squall line moved from the Gulf of Mexico into Florida and Cuba. The storm system tracked up the East Coast during Saturday and into Canada by early Monday morning. In the storm's wake, unseasonably cold temperatures were recorded over the next day or two in the Southeast.

Storm_of_the_century_satellite.thumb.gif.bbcdb95bf8ce6d6434ff0bae89788ec5.gif

IRanim.gif.3df895a752fd2837810b2206b4aea20a.gif

93mar12_loop_ir.gif.e7bae4ae0a400caea0a6df8c1072292e.gif

 

James Spann - Part 1

 

Part 2

 

Part 3

 

Part 4

 

 

Part 5

 

Here are some additional links to more information about the storm:



1 Comment


Recommended Comments

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Posts

    • MD 0696 CONCERNING SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH LIKELY FOR EASTERN NM AND PORTIONS OF THE OK/TX PANHANDLES INTO WESTERN TX Mesoscale Discussion 0696 NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK 1156 PM CDT Sun May 19 2019 Areas affected...eastern NM and portions of the OK/TX Panhandles into western TX Concerning...Severe potential...Watch likely Valid 200456Z - 200700Z Probability of Watch Issuance...80 percent SUMMARY...Thunderstorms are expected to develop by 1-3 am CDT. Large hail will be the main concern with activity through early morning. A watch will likely be needed in the next couple of hours. DISCUSSION...Strong southeasterly flow through around 1 km continues to bring rich Gulf moisture northwest across TX into eastern NM late this evening. Dewpoints have increased 8 to 16 degrees in the last 3 hours from the Davis Mountain region in western TX into southeastern NM as evidence of this strong moisture surge. Regional 00z RAOBs from CRP and DRT showed surface dewpoints of 80 and 69 F respectively. As such, deeper boundary layer moisture is expected to overspread much of western TX and into far eastern NM overnight. A resulting surge in instability will accompany the moisture return and MLCAPE values around 500 J/kg were already shifting northwest into southeast NM. As this trend continues the next few hours, modest forcing along a surface dryline and subtle impulses ejecting from eastward progressing upper trough over the western Great Basin should trigger convective initiation in the 06-08z time frame. Water vapor and IR satellite imagery indicate a subtle wave is spreading northeast across southern AZ and northern Mexico as of 0430z with increasing cloud cover and cooling cloud temps noted in addition to more agitated cloud features over southeast NM into far west TX. This initial activity will likely be elevated given the cool boundary layer. However, impressive effective shear of 60+ kt with large, curved hodographs will support rotating/supercell structures. Hail will be the main concern with this activity overnight, though a 40-50 kt south/southwesterly low level jet could result in upscale growth into a squall line or bowing segments. Given surface inhibition, the wind and tornado threat should remain limited until after sunrise. A watch will likely be needed for portions of the MCD area by around 06-07z. ..Leitman/Guyer.. 05/20/2019 ...Please see www.spc.noaa.gov for graphic product... ATTN...WFO...LUB...AMA...MAF...ABQ... LAT...LON 33080403 34960410 35710420 36220395 36580355 36870265 36880202 36740147 36220095 35420082 34240128 33110180 32310249 32150294 32080338 32480392 33080403 Read more View the full article
    • No Mesoscale Discussions are in effect as of Mon May 20 01:46:01 UTC 2019. View the full article
    • MD 0695 CONCERNING SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH UNLIKELY FOR PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST MS...SOUTHEAST AR...NORTHERN LA AND EXTREME NORTHEAST TX Mesoscale Discussion 0695 NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK 0721 PM CDT Sun May 19 2019 Areas affected...portions of northwest MS...southeast AR...northern LA and extreme northeast TX Concerning...Severe potential...Watch unlikely Valid 200021Z - 200145Z Probability of Watch Issuance...20 percent SUMMARY...Locally damaging wind gusts and small hail are possible with strongest storms the next 2-3 hours. Overall threat should remain very isolated and a watch is not expected. DISCUSSION...Widely scattered but robust thunderstorms development was occurring along the surface cold front located across southeast AR toward the ArkLaTex vicinity. Ahead of the cold front, a very warm and moist airmass with temperatures in the 80s and dewpoints in the low 70s was resulting in strong instability and steep low level lapse rates within an area of modest effective shear. Midlevel lapse rates are rather poor across the region and this should hinder longevity of intense organized updrafts. Given weak low level shear combined with high PWs and steep 0-3 km lapse rates, strong to locally damaging wind gusts are possible the next couple of hours. Some small hail may also be possible with strongest cells. Overall, the threat should remain limited in time, space and scope, and is expected to diminish quickly this evening with loss of daytime heating and a stabilizing boundary layer. As such, a watch is not expected. ..Leitman/Guyer.. 05/20/2019 ...Please see www.spc.noaa.gov for graphic product... ATTN...WFO...MEG...JAN...LZK...SHV... LAT...LON 34639091 34939018 34878981 34668953 34008974 33329016 32739092 32269184 32089241 31859361 32079442 32359451 32659451 32899411 33179332 33909208 34639091 Read more View the full article
    • MD 0693 CONCERNING SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH POSSIBLE FOR PORTIONS OF EASTERN PA...NJ...SOUTHERN NY AND WESTERN MA/CT Mesoscale Discussion 0693 NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK 0555 PM CDT Sun May 19 2019 Areas affected...portions of eastern PA...NJ...southern NY and western MA/CT Concerning...Severe potential...Watch possible Valid 192255Z - 200030Z Probability of Watch Issuance...60 percent SUMMARY...A new watch may be needed downstream of WW 192 and 193. Locally damaging wind and hail threat could persist for several more hours eastward toward the I-95 corridor and southern NY. DISCUSSION...Scattered severe thunderstorms continue to track northeast across central and eastern PA and eastern NY. Storms have remained semi-discrete with a tenancy toward upscale growth into bowing structures. Convection may persist beyond the 01z expiration time of WW 192 and 193 across parts of far western PA into southern NY and NJ where a very moist airmass (surface dew points in the upper 60s to low 70s) beneath steep midlevel lapse rates. As a result, a corridor of 1000-2000 J/kg MLCAPE resides from southeast PA into southern NY. Effective shear around 30 kt should remain adequate to support semi-organized structures into this evening and a locally damaging wind and hail threat could spread eastward toward the I-95 corridor/southern NY through around 04-05z. As such, a new watch may be needed. Instability quickly diminishes with eastward extent into western MA/CT and parts of Long Island where cloud cover has limited heating and dewpoints to the east of a quasi-stationary/warm frontal boundary are only in the 50s F. This should result in a a quickly diminishing severe threat east of the Hudson Valley. ..Leitman/Guyer.. 05/19/2019 ...Please see www.spc.noaa.gov for graphic product... ATTN...WFO...OKX...ALY...PHI...BGM...CTP... LAT...LON 41667523 42207451 42347419 42337390 42267340 42037320 40687330 40087359 39737410 39597472 39607540 39777587 40087605 40787587 41667523 Read more View the full article
    • MD 0694 CONCERNING SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 194... FOR SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN...CENTRAL/NORTHERN INDIANA Mesoscale Discussion 0694 NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK 0600 PM CDT Sun May 19 2019 Areas affected...Southeast Michigan...Central/northern Indiana Concerning...Severe Thunderstorm Watch 194... Valid 192300Z - 200100Z The severe weather threat for Severe Thunderstorm Watch 194 continues. SUMMARY...The threat for damaging wind gusts and marginally severe hail will continue in WW 194 for another couple of hours. A brief tornado cannot be ruled out with the stronger, discrete storms. A downstream watch is not expected given the stable airmass ahead of the ongoing activity. DISCUSSION...Ongoing convection from southern Michigan to south of Indianapolis has been producing wind damage reports over the last two hours. Wind gusts have generally been higher in Indiana where instability is slightly greater. Measured wind gusts over the last hour or two have generally ranged from 45 to near 60 mph. A few clusters of storms have organized into small bowing segments in both Michigan and Indiana. The threat for damaging winds will be relative maximized ahead of that activity. A few storms have remained more discrete in northern Indiana into southern Michigan. A few of these storms have shown signs of transient low-level rotation with on storm having possibly produced a brief tornado in Barry County, MI per KGRR dual-pol data. Both KGRR and KIWX VAD profiles do show relatively large low-level shear; however, given the very modest instability as well as most of the deep-layer shear being concentrated in the lowest few kilometers, the overall tornado threat should be limited. With the downstream environment having very limited instability, the need for a downstream watch is unlikely. ..Wendt.. 05/19/2019 ...Please see www.spc.noaa.gov for graphic product... ATTN...WFO...ILN...IWX...GRR...IND... LAT...LON 42538635 43028590 43078479 42838441 41338455 40368478 39398523 39048555 38818667 39408739 42538635 Read more View the full article
×
×
  • Create New...