"Winter Storm 2014" packs a punch! - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

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"Winter Storm 2014" packs a punch!

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Katherine Walker Katherine Walker
Kristina Oldenburg Kristina Oldenburg
Kat Keen Kat Keen
Debora Ciar Hendren Debora Ciar Hendren
Laura Powell Laura Powell
The snow started farther north on Tuesday morning and lasted longer than expected; then the freezing rain began, with nearly .25” of ice and still no snow. This was all from an inversion layer around 2,000 feet, warmer air above freezing air. The snow evaporated through this warmer layer above freezing and the rain froze when it made contact on most surfaces.

Before sunset the snow finally developed and the layer was all snow. The First Alert weather team’s meteorologist David Reese was breaking this down for all our social viewers. Later, Senior Meteorologist Kurt Schmitz in North Columbus was measuring 1.5” of snow in his yard. Before this all ended around midnight near Columbus and continued until 3a.m. across our Georgia southeast counties. Columbus P.D. was working 20 accidents in one hour, while Harris County Sheriff declared most roads unsafe for travel. 

Early in the day Icy road condition across north and central Alabama resulted in the first reported crash that was reported by Alabama Department of Public Safety. A seven-vehicle crash on  Alabama 14 (Elmore Road) near the Canal Bridge.   There were two confirmed fatalities and five injuries, one of those being critical.   Preliminary investigation is that it is likely weather-related.

The moisture from the storm may be gone this morning but now we are dealing with the ice on the surfaces, which are less traveled and on objects. Ice with today's winds will easily knock chunks of ice from these higher objects. Kids are off today, so be mindful to all the hazards they can encounter outside. After the snow stopped in Lee county,  Chris Tate, Lee County EMA issued this statement to the press, “That stretch of highway was impassable. Cars could not climb hill, sliding back down. Called Alabama Department of Transportation for assistance.”

The moisture from the storm may be gone this morning but now we are dealing with the ice on the surfaces, which are less traveled and on objects. Ice with today's winds will easily knock chunks of ice from these higher objects. Reading will barely climb above freezing but the wind chill and late day sunshine will keep wind chill values well below freezing.

Finally just an interesting side note: Twenty-nine days into 2014 and we are averaging 41.0°. We are still on track, with our forecast averaging out to be the coldest January in 24 years, possibly making this January the 4th the coldest on record. Last year to date we were averaging 55.6°, and January 2013, clearly was a mild month compared to this year.

Kids are off today, so be mindful to all the hazards they may encounter outside.

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Bob Jeswald

Bob worked as a meteorologist in Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona before deciding to head back to the fountain city to raise his family. More>>

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