« Major Coastal Storm Looking More Likely For NE! Some Could Exceed 1 Foot Of Snow!!! | Main | Huge Earthquake Hits Near Solomon Islands In The Pacific »

02/05/2013

February 1998 - The Forgotten Snowstorm

Everyone remembers where they were during the Winter Storm of '94 and most people remember what they were doing during the Holiday Storm of '04, but few people remember the biggest snow maker of them all for Louisville.  

On the evening of Tuesday February 3rd, snow started falling on Kentuckiana as a large, slow moving storm system was developing far to the south along the Gulf Coast.  

Gfx2
Snow Started on February 3rd

The snow became heavy Tuesday night and would continue for three more days!

By Thursday the 5th, the low pressure system had reached the Carolina Coast and continued to dump heavy snow in our area. 

Gfx3
Snow Continued through February 5th

The snow didn't come to an end until late on that Friday, the 6th!

Normally, when we get good snows in this part of the Ohio Valley, it's a combination of cold air moving in from the north and moisture being pulled up from the south typically out of the Gulf.  

However, one of the things that made this storm so unique was that the main source of moisture was the Atlantic Ocean!

Because of the placement and size of the mid-level low pressure system, located at about 4 or 5,000 feet above the surface, a strong, persistent easterly fetch developed bringing us a continuous feed of Atlantic moisture.  This combined with a sufficiently cold air mass to produce a long duration heavy snowfall event.

When all was said and done, areas along the Ohio River and to the south across the Bluegrass of Kentucky were looking at some astonishing snow totals on the order of one to two feet!!

SNOW 98
Three Day Snowfall Totals

In Louisville, an incredible 22.4" of snow fell during the three day period!  To this day, this stands as the heaviest snowfall on record for the key city exceeding the '94 storm total by more than six inches!  

 

So why is it that many people have a hard time remembering this event? 

For one, there was never 22" of snow on the ground.  Temperatures for much of the storm were near or even slightly above freezing, which lead to lots of melting and compacting of the snow as it fell.  

Also, I believe that since the snow fell over a three day period of time, it didn't have quite the same impact as the '94 storm did or the '04 storm did in the metro area where all the accumulating snow and ice fell within a 24 hour period.  (The '94 storm was more like a 12 hour event)

Regardless, the '98 snowstorm was a very rare event and one that none of us living here will likely experience again.

While I was going to meteorology school at Purdue at the time, I unfortunately, did not get to witness the event first hand.  However, fortunately, some of my fb friends were kind enough to share their photos with us... 

PRP - Dena Rodgers
PRP - Dena Rodgers

PRP - Dena Rodgers2
PRP - Dena Rodgers

98 Snow Valley Station - Samantha Hill
Valley Station - Samantha Hill

98 Snow Valley Station - Samantha Hill2
Valley Station - Samantha Hill

98 Snow Jeffersonville Laura Broy Spencer
Jeffersonville - Laura Broy Spencer

98 Snow Jeffersonville Laura Broy Spencer2
Jeffersonville - Laura Broy Spencer

1998 snow - Steve Nathan
1998 snow - Steve Nathan

 

For those interested in a more detailed look at the weather set up for the event, be sure to check out the below synoptic charts courtesy the Louisville National Weather Service.  It was a bizarre storm to say the least!

SynopticA_1998020312
Valid 12z Tuesday February 3, 1998

SynopticA_1998020400
Valid 00z Wednesday February 4, 1998

SynopticA_1998020412
Valid 12z Wednesday February 4, 1998

SynopticA_1998020500
Valid 00z Thursday February 5, 1998

SynopticA_1998020512
Valid 12z Thursday February 5, 1998

SynopticA_1998020600
Valid 00z Friday February 6, 1998

SynopticA_1998020612
Valid 12z Friday February 6, 1998

 

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

16437438_BG3

Jeremy's Bio

Find me on Facebook!

Follow me on Twitter!

Email me at jkappell@wdrb.com



 

 

 



Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment