Anthropogenic Snow: A Case of Industrial Plant-Induced Snowfall in the Texas Panhandle

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 8:30 AM
211B West Building (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
B.J. Simpson, NOAA/NWS, Amarillo, TX; and J. Jackson, T. T. Lindley, and K. Scotten

On 9-10 February 2014 an anomalous and extremely localized snowfall event occurred downstream of two industrial plant complexes in the Texas Panhandle. Although a shallow arctic airmass was entrenched over the region, no signals indicative of synoptic forcing for ascent or precipitation were evident in analysis or numerical weather prediction models. Nonetheless, up to 12.7 cm (5 inches) of snow accumulated beneath narrow snow plumes downstream of industrial plants near the cities of Borger and Amarillo.

Although anthropogenic snowfalls have been documented elsewhere, studies analyzing meteorological factors and operational best practices have been limited. This study presents comprehensive meteorological and radar analyses as well as unique considerations toward operational forecasts and decision support services associated with this particular human-modified high-impact weather event.