SPoRT continues to work with select NWS WFOs in evaluating the NESDIS SFR product.
A rare winter storm impacted much of the deep South Tuesday morning and afternoon. Areas of Central and Northeastern Alabama only received a couple of inches of snow, but this was enough to cause major headaches as roadways iced over resulting in highways across Alabama and Georgia being shut down, stranding thousands of motorists. Most reports from late Tuesday morning indicated that the worse of the winter weather was falling south of Cullman, AL, through Birmingham, AL to Montgomery, AL and then eastward into areas like Fort Payne, AL. I-65 north of Birmingham and I-20 east of Birmingham were particularly troublesome in the state of Alabama.
The AWIPS image below depicts the SFR product in AWIPS with overlaid interstate highways. This image was taken from the AMSU on Metop-B at 1618 UTC (10:18 local Alabama time) right about the time when the heaviest snow was impacting the state. The SFR Product indicates liquid water equivalent precipitation rates between 0.04 and 0.08 in/hr, which if you multiply by a factor of 10 to get the solid snowfall rate equates to around 0.4 and 0.8 in/hr. Snowfall totals across this region were generally in the 1-3 inch range, so the rates that were detected by the product were consistent with what actually fell.