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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2017, Article ID 6301026, 26 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/6301026
Research Article

Multiscale Dynamics of the February 11-12, 2010, Deep South US Snowstorm Event

1Department of Energy & Environmental Systems, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC, USA
2Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, USA
3Department of Physics, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Stephany M. Taylor; ude.tacn.seigga@rolyats

Received 25 February 2017; Accepted 17 May 2017; Published 24 October 2017

Academic Editor: Helena A. Flocas

Copyright © 2017 Stephany M. Taylor et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study investigates the synoptic/mesoscale dynamics responsible for an unusually heavy southern US snowstorm that occurred on February 11-12, 2010, using reanalysis, observations, and numerical simulations. This record breaking snowfall event represents an example of multiple upper level and low-level jets (LLJs) and their accompanying baroclinic zones. The analysis reveals the following synoptic scale processes as significant contributors: (1) upper level jet splitting and merging, (2) advection of cold arctic air at low levels by a large anticyclone, and (3) an incoming upper level shortwave trough. In addition to the synoptic scale processes, the following mesoscale features played a major role in this snowstorm event: coexisting potential (convective) instability and conditional symmetric instability, terrain blocking, and a double LLJ development process. Sensitivity experiments including (1) limiting the orographic effects of elevated plateau in Texas and the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico by reducing the terrain height to 225 meters, (2) the microphysics/latent heating effects, and (3) surface fluxes on the development and intensity of the snowstorm were also conducted by turning these options off in the numerical model. Of all three experiments, the surface flux experiment displays the least amount of influence on the developing frozen precipitation bands.