Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Soaker For Some, Stuck In Ice For Others

Wow did you see the maps today, esp. in the Ohio River Valley?

There were several 2-4 inch rainfall reports from north-central Tennessee in particular, in the Nashville vicinity.

The CoCoRaHS network is in place across Kentucky and Missouri -- but there is a big gap in data over southeast Missouri and southwest Kentucky today -- likely due to power outages from the ice storm and in some counties a lack of stations.

It will be nice when Arkansas comes online later this spring -- that is a HUGE gap currently on the maps and I know from growing up there that the precipitation patterns are quite interesting.

Based off reading through some of your comments, in particular from Tennessee once again, sounds like some of you experienced rain to sleet and snow.

Just a reminder to have your gauge ready to switch over to winter precip mode in those types of weather situations. (i.e. take the inner tube and funnel lid off and just let the overflow can sit outside and catch all the precip)

A severe ice storm has struck from eastern Oklahoma, across northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, and into portions of western Tennessee and Kentucky.

In northern Arkansas, entire cities and towns are shut down and essentially stuck with widespread damage from downed trees, limbs and power lines.

If you have never been in an ice storm where 1 or more inches of ice accumulate, it is probably one of the most miserable feelings ever. At least with snow you can try and get around, but with freezing rain -- in that quantity -- you become a prisoner to Mother Nature.

And when the power goes out and you are left with nothing but the sound of tree limbs and branches snapping, it's brings an unsettled feeling, especially at night.

Hopefully that part of the world will warm up and melt soon and life can get back to normal -- although it could be several days to restore power, esp. in the rural areas of the Ozarks.


Someone left me a comment asking one more time for clarification.

Precipitation caused by fog, be it freezing fog or not, DOES count as precipitation.

If possible, leave a comment describing what you observed.

When you have clear skies (keyword clear) and wake up to either frost or dew, this is NOT precipitation.

But it is still worth making a note in your comments if you are so inclined because some CoCoRaHS data users may either have a use for this info or find it interesting.


  1. We lived in the Bentonville AR area
    from 92-00. I remember parking the car two miles away on another hill top because the ice had formed on the roads so quickly I could not drive the rest of the way home.

  2. Hey Chris,

    Living in Colorado, I figure you have more insight about snow water equivalencies. At our station, we received 1.8" from this storm. The Snow Water Equivelant was 0.26". Is that abnormally high?

    Is there an "average" snow/water ratio?

  3. I hope Chris answers your question specifically regarding the snow to water equivalencies. As a 'chronic' weather watcher and a life-long resident of CO I can say I've found the ratio to run across a broad range depending on several factors especially temperature. I've measured and converted as little as 8" of snow to get an inch of water and as much as 14" to get an equivalent 1" of water. Our famous "champagne-powder" probably would fall into the upper range of 14-18" of snow to yield 1" of water. Can you confirm tis Chris?

  4. WxWatcher, indeed, there is a snow water equivalent chart. Click HERE for the one that is distributed by the NWS in Green Bay for it's precip observers.

  5. Thanks for the link and info guys. I'll bet there's been a lot of research that's gone into this topic.

    OSNW3, do you have any links to "snowflake shapes vs. temperature" charts at your fingertips?