Rare snow seen Sunday

Published 11:59 pm Monday, March 2, 2009

Covington County received a light dusting of snow Sunday, thanks to specific and unusual weather patterns, the National Weather Service in Mobile said Monday.

“What happened was we had an arctic cold front come through late in the day on Saturday,” said Jeff Garmon, warning coordination meteorologist with NWS. “There was also a heavy storm system, that’s why you saw heavy rain and thunderstorms on Saturday. During the morning hours (Sunday), you had a cold air mass in the lower parts of the atmosphere from that arctic front, and when that big upper-level storm system came across that cold air mass, it allowed the situation to develop (into snow).”

Garmon said Covington County last saw a measurable amount of snow in 2002. He said the most recent considerable snowfall was Dec. 18, 1996, when Red Level and parts of northwest Covington County saw about 1-2 inches of the frozen precipitation.

“There wasn’t a lot of snow measured (Sunday) in Covington County,” he said. “At most, just a few grassy surfaces and some cars and things like that; nothing impacting traffic or travel. Even so, it’s pretty unusual for a low to dive down as far south as it did; usually it stays more north and that’s why the Northeast (U.S) receives so much snow.”

Kristi Stamnes, director of the Covington County Emergency Management Agency, said there was no chance for the snow to stick because it was so warm on Saturday.

“Our ground temperatures were still pretty warm, so the snow melted on contact,” she said. “By Thursday, we’re going to be up around 75 degrees again. We could still get another cold spell sometime, or we might actually be warming up for the spring. But at least for tomorrow, it’s supposed to be clear skies and cool and it will start to warm up gradually by the end of the week.”

NWS forecasts for the remainder of the week are as follows: today — high in the mid-50s, low in the mid-20s; Wednesday — high in the upper 60s, low in the lower 40s; Thursday — high in the mid-70s, low in the lower 50s; Friday — high in the upper 70s, low in the lower 50s.