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Snowstorm Breaks Records from Oklahoma to Mississippi

February 11, 2011

Before creating travel hazards across the Southeast, a winter storm dumped feet of snow over parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas and set several snowfall records across the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.

The brunt of Wednesday’s winter storm was endured by far northeastern Oklahoma and neighboring northwestern Arkansas, where snow amounted to around 2 feet.

More specifically, an area near the town of Jay, Okla., measured 25.0 inches. Springdale, Ark., recorded 2 feet exactly.

Between 16 to 18 inches buried Fayetteville, Ark. The city only averages 6.1 inches for an entire winter.

A car became stranded in the snow on Interstate 540 in Fayetteville, Ark., on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)

A couple of factors went into play for the winter storm to drop these heavy snow totals. The air rising in response to the higher terrain of the Ozark Plateau likely enhanced the snowfall.

In addition, temperatures were in the teens and lower 20s as the snow was falling. That bitter cold typically yields higher snow totals than if the temperature was closer to the freezing mark.

Significantly less snow was measured away from northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas. However, the winter storm remained extremely disruptive due to the fact of how far south snow accumulated and ice occurred.

As much as 3.0 inches of snow whitened an area near the northern Louisiana town of Bastrop. Freezing rain, meanwhile, was reported in Houston and Victoria, Texas.

Other snowfall totals as Wednesday’s winter storm moved from the southern Plains to the South include:

–6.0 inches at Olive Branch, Miss.

–5.5 inches at Parson, Tenn.

–4.5 inches at Vernon, Ala.

–2.0 inches at Birmingham, Ala.

–1.5 inches near Tallulah Falls, Ga.

The 5.3 inches that Tupelo, Miss., measured shattered Wednesday’s old snowfall record of a trace from last year.

Tupelo was not the only city that set a daily snowfall record Wednesday. Other cities that did so are given below with the previous record in parenthesis.

Oklahoma City, Okla.: 5.9 inches (2.6 inches from 2003)

Little Rock, Ark.: 5.8 inches (0.7 of an inch from 1994)

Memphis, Tenn.: 3.1 inches (1.4 inches from 2003)

–Wichita Falls, Texas: 2.8 inches (2.0 inches from 1980)

For the snow- and cold-weary southern Plains and South, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Heather Buchman reports that warmer weather will arrive this weekend and melt away any leftover snow from Wednesday’s winter storm.

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