The snow hangover

From the Institute for Climate Education @ A-B Tech: Significant snow fell again over the higher elevations earlier this week (just before Easter), which, honestly, produced too much of a good thing for many folks in the region. I could use some “hair of the dog,” or in this case, some “green of spring” to get me over this snow hangover.

The image below shows a large snow drift that developed a hanging ledge March 27-29. The drift is the result of the 14-plus inches of snow that we received at the higher elevations northwest of Mars Hill during the three-day event.

The map below helps to show where the heaviest snowfall occurred. The brightest areas northwest of Mars Hill, and westward along the North Carolina-Tennessee state line to Max Patch and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park indicate where more than a foot of snow fell.

If you’re interested is seeing what it was like during the storm, click here for a video. (My first attempt at video editing!)

And while it seems unusual to see snow this late in the season (remember spring started officially last week), Western North Carolina can see some of its biggest snow events in March and even into April and May.

When you think about significant snow events to impact the Southern Appalachians in March, it’s the “Storm of the Century,” — the blizzard of March 12-14, 1993 — that really sets the bar. That system produced the state of North Carolina’s greatest one-day snowfall record at Mount Mitchell with 36 inches of snow on March 13, 1993. The Asheville airport recorded 18.2” of snow during the event, from March 12-14, setting a record total for the month of March.

Image credit: NOAA’s National Weather Service via State Climate Office of North Carolina

But the blizzard of 1993 isn’t the only big snow producer to strike the region in recent history during March.  A coastal low pressure system produced significant widespread snowfall across Western North Carolina on March 20-21 of 2001. Mount Mitchell recorded 29” of snow on March 21, 2001 (the second greatest one-day snowfall record in the state) and snowfall of over 12” was reported in elevations over 3000 ft. with totals of 24”-30” reported in Haywood, Madison, Yancey, and Avery counties. A coop observer in Asheville recorded 4.5” of snow on March 20, 2001.

Image credit: NOAA’s National Weather Service via State Climate Office of North Carolina

Even April can bring some big snows. One of the most interesting sights I have ever witnessed occurred on April 10, 2003, when I was caught in a thunder-snow event in Asheville. I’ll never forget the size of the snow “clumps” that were falling from the sky during that convective snow event.

Then, there’s the May 7, 1992, snow event that dumped 57 inches (nearly five feet!) on Mount Pisgah. We really do live in an amazing place.


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