As a frigid, perhaps the coldest on record for many, Thanksgiving approaches for many across the United States, here is an anecdotal tale of a lifetime of weather in Louisiana.~ctm
By Kenneth Bahlinger,
South Louisiana Snows and Winter Weather Events:
You and I want it to snow in the deep south every winter. A year ago if someone would have said that it was going to snow here in Baton Rouge in less than a month from today, we would probably say no way.
However the past 10 years have been an unprecedented period of winter weather for the Deep South especially here in the Baton Rouge area. That includes three measurable snows in early December; Something that had never happened in the previous over 100+ years of record keeping. In fact before 2008 there had hardly been even trace snows in Baton Rouge in December. The below link has records of measurable snow for McComb, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Biloxi/Gulfport through 2010.
My first memory of snow in Baton Rouge was in first grade, 1968 on February 23. That was also the same year about a month later, March 22 and 23 when we had large white flakes, the latest recorded trace of snow. I remember my teacher catching flakes on black construction paper not knowing that the true hexagon flakes do not fall at 34 degrees. Ever since that snow in first grade in 1968, when we had measurable snow, we were lucky to get 1-2 inches.
In 1973 we had two measureable snow events about a month apart. Though there was trace events almost every year after 1973, it was not until 1988 that Baton Rouge had another measurable snow. In February 1988 it actually snowed twice in three days though the second snow was labeled as a trace event. That second snow on February 7 was the only snow that I remember snow starting out as snow.
The above graph is missing New Year’s night snow of 2002 when we got about an inch. That started around 10:30 pm.
There have been at least 3 times when New Orleans has had measurable snow and Baton Rouge none, including December 31, 1963 (4.5 inches), 1989 Arctic outbreak and Christmas 2004.
December 2008 brought the earliest measurable snow ever on December 11. As incredible as that was, in 2009 it snowed for a second consecutive year even one week earlier, on December 4, an event that dumped the 8+ inches in the Florida parishes, about 40 miles east of the airport. There was a second snow on February 10, 2010; Another twice in a season snow.
2014 brought 4 wintry weather episodes to Baton Rouge. Though it did not snow much, it was just as a memorable winter weather event here in Baton Rouge. Incredible as it was, January 24, 2014 at 2 PM it was 25 degrees with freezing rain and sleet. The moderate rain brought some warmer temps, or it would have been a devastating ice storm. We had about 18 hours of the event. It did begin as moderate snow around 12:30 am before changing to sleet and freezing rain. We were just so close to a record snow fall, expect for the warm layer 8 thousand feet above.
And only 4 days later it was 28 degrees at 2 pm with more of a sleet event storm, about 9 hours of wintry precip.
Then on February 6 we had sleet with a few flakes for a few hours around midday. This would have been a noteworthy event if not for the previous 2. The temps stayed just above freezing, so no accumulation.
And then when thinking about a March 4 Mardi Gras, you would think it would be one of the warmest. Yet at on March 4 temps climbed from the upper 20’s in the morning to 31 degrees at noon with a moderate freezing rain. A few degrees colder or perhaps earlier in the season, it might have been a major icing event. Still this was one of, if not the biggest, freezing rain event I have seen here in Baton Rouge. Even worse than the January 24 event. I have seen other freezing rain events over my past 45 years, but not like this. Freezing rain events are rarer than snow here in Baton Rouge and even hard to obtain in January and February. 2014 was another season of one in your lifetime weather events.
And then the 2017-2018 winter, another 2 event season. Both events are not logged in on the Slidell NWS graph. On December 8, 2017 another early December measurable snow. While I had 3 inches here in Baton Rouge the biggest swath was just to the south around Prairieville with about 6 inches.
The second season event was January 16, 2018. The mostly snow line was just to our north, but we had a good mix. It was 22 degrees and snowing at 9:00 pm; The coldest I have ever seen it snow here in Baton Rouge.
What once in a the lifetime winter events are ahead? Will the wintry weather trend continue?