Jack Frost Visits Alabama on Time…and Other Weather News

Published 11:10 am Monday, December 12, 2011

Although parts of Alabama saw sporadic frost in October, the first big frost of the state happened on 11-11-11, according to summary data provided by John Christy, Ph.D. in the most recent Alabama Climate Report.

Christy is a climatologist and director of the Earth System Science Center in Huntsville.

“It is tough to say whether first frost is much of an indicator of how winter will develop,” Christy wrote. “It came early for Anniston, Gadsden, Muscle Shoals, Tuscaloosa, Dothan and Mobile, but a few days late for Birmingham and Troy. That doesn’t sound like much of a trend.”

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Christy reported an earlier-than-usual round of snow on Nov. 29-30, with 2.3 inches reported in Valley Head along with 1 to 3 inches at higher elevation in Jackson and Madison counties.

While cold weather was expected to breeze through Alabama by mid-November, two bouts of bad weather generated more than four tornadoes across Central Alabama. An EF-2 in Sumter County caused one injury and destroyed homes, an EF-0 caused some damage in Demopolis, an EF-1 gave Montgomery some trouble with a mile-long wake of damage and an EF-1 that started in Macon County near Notasulga damaged dozens of buildings in Macon and Lee counties and even skirted the Auburn University campus.

The Weather Service reported that the EF-1 originating in Macon County had wind speeds up to 110 mph and stayed on the ground for 33 miles with a damage path 750 yards wide. November tornadoes are not uncommon, Christy reported, but EF-1 tornadoes with that kind of staying power are unusual.

To read the full climate report and take a look at some pretty nifty charts and graphics, just click here.