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An active weather pattern evolving for us, and looking back on the St. Patrick’s snow storm of 1892.

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SUMMARY

We have yet another really nice day in store for us, folks! We should have lots of sun today, even as clouds begin to drift in as the day goes along. Those clouds are ahead of our next system that will move in here tonight, bringing rain showers and some rumbles of thunder. Storms will stay below severe limits, so no worries in that department. Most of the rain falls during our overnight hours, with showers and possibly a t-storm lingering into our Saturday morning. Conditions will be improving by noon, with some afternoon sun even expected. The high tomorrow depends on how much sun we get. If it comes out before noon, we could get a few degrees above 70! Never the less, even if we only get afternoon sunshine, that should be enough to warm us to 70 degrees. The nice weather continues into Sunday, with our next system moving in during the night Sunday and hanging around with us into Monday.

I’ll have to keep an eye on Monday’s weather. We will have a strong cold front moving into our area, while a warm front parks itself just to our south, along the TN/Al border. The threat for tornadoes will be maximized along that warm front, so we’ll have to monitor how far north that warm front gets before the cold fronts comes through and clashes with it. The Storm Prediction Center has now highlighted the southern half of Middle TN, not including the plateau (as of now), for the threat for severe weather on Monday. They advise that this threat area will be updated as we get closer to Monday and as more data becomes available.  Right now, I’m thinking the severe threat will be greatest to our southwest, toward Huntsville, Al, but I’ll keep an eye on all that for you and update this as needed.

Temps fall on Tuesday and we’ll stay cool for a few days afterward. There are indications that we will have some disturbances moving into this cooler air, which could lead to some snow showers by Tuesday night and/or Wednesday. I’ll update as we closer to next week.

DISCUSSION

As I said in the discussion, I’ll have to keep a close eye on Monday. Normally, people associate severe weather with cold fronts, as they certainly should, but we have learned to worry about warm fronts, too. Severe t-storms thrive on wind shear, which is the change in wind direction and speed with height. If you have lots of turning of the winds with height, then you can get rotating updrafts. These can lead to large hail, damaging winds, and even tornadoes if that rotation extends to the surface. Both cold and warm fronts often have lots of wind shear, which is why we have to watch them closely, especially this time of year.

Right now it looks like the severe weather threat will be greatest to our southwest, but our storms normally come from that direction, so we have to be mindful of how much they will weaken before reaching the plateau, and if they’ll have enough spunk to handle our terrain.

I’ll keep you updated on this situation as we approach Monday. Just keep this in mind if you have plans for that day.

As for snow chances next week, they look rather low. However, there are indications that we could see some flurries Tuesday night and perhaps even some snow showers by Wednesday or Wednesday night. It’s too early to know if we would get any accumulation, and confidence in a forecast that many days out is too low to even discuss at this point, especially this time of year.

Speaking of snow…..

Tomorrow, as you probably already know, is St. Patrick’s Day. You’d think that by now we’d be about through with snow, but on this day in 1892 we were on the verge of getting walloped with what may be the biggest snowfall many places in Tennessee have ever seen. It is known as the St. Patrick’s Day Snowstorm.

Up until this point in 1892, there had hardly been any snow, with Nashville having only recorded a measly 0.3″ of snow up until March 16, 1892 (sound familiar?). Most folks thought winter was over (sound familiar? ha). Temps the first half of March had been in the 60s all across TN. But, a strong cold front moved through on the 13th that led to a pattern change that would eventually lead to this historic snow storm. Nashville picked up 4.5″ on the 15th of March.

But the snow shenanigans was only just beginning!

The St. Patrick’s Day snow storm began around 6:00 p.m. this evening in Nashville and really amped up on St. Patrick’s Day. By the time the snow ended, Nashville was under 17 inches of snow! This is the greatest one-day snowfall in Nashville’s history. Carthage recorded 18.7″, which is also their greatest one-day snowfall on record.  Nashville street cars had been snowed under and morning trains couldn’t even run. A freight train coming in from Chattanooga derailed on the snow at Murfreesboro. The St. Patrick’s Day parade scheduled for Nashville was, of course,  cancelled.

A conversation between two journalists was recorded. One reporter was in Cincinnati and the other in Memphis. They would wire:

Memphis reporter: The snow here is four feet deep.

Cincinnati reporter: You mean inches, don’t you”

Memphis: No, it is up to a man’s knee.

I don’t know about you but that reporter must have known some awfully tall men! (haha). The point is that the snow was deep, even in Memphis!  I guess those were the good ole days, right? (ha)

March of 1892 remains the snowiest winter on record for Middle TN. March 1993 came close, with the blizzard we had, but the blizzard only affected the eastern 2/3 of Middle TN and all of East TN. The snowstorm of 1892 hit a much larger portion of the state.

Just always keep in mind that just about anything can happen in March with our weather!

You all have a great day and a nice weekend! I’ll be on Raccoon Mtn tomorrow, just north of Chattanooga, running a double half marathon. I’ve never attempted two halves in one day, so wish me luck! It looks like we’ll be in the rain in the morning half, but sunshine for the afternoon second half. I’ve never ran in this race before, but it sounds like it’s a fun one. What got me into this one? I read that you get a coon hat, with a real coon tail, for running in this (ha!). Plus, proceeds from the race go to Run Chattanooga, which hosts free workouts for folks six days a week (esp for people who can’t afford gym memberships in Chattanooga). Everything with the race is locally made, including our hand-carved medals from artists who live on Lookout Mtn.  I’m sure I’ll pics of my new coon hat and medals on Monday 🙂 I really am too excited about this coon hat! lol My brother offered to just shoot me one but it’s not the same. It’s just not the same…

I’ll keep an eye on Monday’s storms and update as needed!

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