WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Several years ago, we had a rare 23" snowfall here in Apex. How much rainfall in inches would that storm be equivalent to?

Posted November 18, 2007

MIKE MOSS SAYS:      David,    That would be the snowstorm of 24-25 January 2000 that you're referring to. The snow totals varied somewhat across the region of course (see attached map), but at the Raleigh-Durham airport those two days combined for a storm total snowfall of 20.3 inches. The National Climatic Data Center recorded the liquid equivalent precipitation for that event as 2.37 inches, although the first 2-4 hundredths of an inch or so fell as light rain before changing to snow.

Those numbers result in a ratio of snow to liquid water of about 8.6 to 1. This is not an atypical ratio for our area, where the ratio can range from as low as 3-4 inches of snow per inch of liquid to as high as 15-20 inches of snow per inch of liquid, depending on the particulars of storm structure, soil temperature and vertical profiles of  temperature and moisture through the lower and mid levels of the troposphere.


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  • Made In USA Nov 19, 2007

    UNC Alumnus: I know what it's like to be without power, just not in the cold. Fran took out mine for 2 weeks...no water (well), no food in the house, no WRAL, nothing. Trees down everywhere and blocking the driveway. Us neighbors helped each other through that long two weeks. I was miserable. Finally got a shower at a motel over off Hwy. 401...for free. That was nice of them. Many people were there taking advantage of their generosity. But no power is no fun.

    Steve:Poor kitty! I know you didn't laugh at her. Did you????? Lol! I say you did.

  • Made In USA Nov 19, 2007

    PS: Thanks for the snow chart!! Awesome.

  • Made In USA Nov 19, 2007

    (cont.) I think you and Greg were calling the shots as they happened. It was one possible tornado after another, with a few in the vicinity of Fuquay and Clayton. I drove right through that mess as I listened to you two. That storm was amazing...sunshining brightly, then a dark - real dark cloud - and bammm...I was in the midst of a really bad strom. Then it ended as fast as it started. Drove right back into the sunshine. Could see the darkness in my rearview mirror, and you and Greg were so busy with reports and sightings and the radar info. That was totally awesome coverage. As it happened. Thanks! Having weather as your occupation, you picked the perfect place to live and work to challenge your career and experience the best scenarios Mother Nature can offer.

  • Made In USA Nov 19, 2007

    The blizzard of 2000, and Hurricane Fran...seems this area was in the crosshairs of Mother Nature twice since moving here in 1988. Oh wait, I think it was November of '88 - or '89 ? - that a tornado came a bit too close to my apartment when I lived off Old Wake Forest Rd. It came across Six Forks Rd. and took out a K-Mart somewhere near there. I can remember driving to work the next morning unaware it had happened during the night, and saw a whole exterior wall missing off an apartment...could see the frig, cabinets, etc. from the road. That night it happened, I remember the constant lightning and thunder. Being a newcomer, I was unaware of WRAL...glad now I found you. Mike, your station has the best weather coverage in N.C, as proven when I was driving to Myrtle Beach during the last severe weather we had on September 14th of this year. Was able to hear WRAL all the way deep into S.C. Finally lost your signal around Exit 170 near Florence.

  • Steve Crisp Nov 19, 2007

    At the time of that storm, I had a fat calico cat named Scruffles who was completely insane. Everytime I opened the door, she would try and bolt outside. On that morning, I opened the door and like clockwork, she bolted outside; this time I let her. She plowed about four feet into the snowbank and let out a noise that sounded like Satan in heat. She came shooting back in about as fast as she went out and spent the next several hours licking herself off and giving me dirty looks like it was my fault.

  • Mike Moss Nov 19, 2007

    Yep, That was certainly a biggie! I recall the station had us squirreled away in a nearby hotel to make sure we could get to work the next morning. Also, Made in USA, I recall seeing some photos with those huge icicles, and in a couple of cases entire sheets of ice that slumped off of carport roofs in a giant curl. Also, I remember having to go and pick up some important medication for a family member, and it was the first time we'd tested our fairly new Jeep Wrangler in really deep snow. It didn't look like it could possibly go anywhere, but the 4WD worked great (the advantage of fluffy snow as opposed to the sheets of ice we sometimes end up with!)

  • UNCalumnus Nov 18, 2007

    I remember that snow very well. I lived in Granville county at the time near Wilton's crossroads. There were snow drifts up to my waist. I am 5'11" tall. At other places, the snow was about an inch high. Our power went out, and we had to stay with friends two blocks over who had power from a different company which was working. What a week!!

  • Made In USA Nov 18, 2007

    Thanks Mike for that detailed information! I can well remember waking up and seeing the vast amounts of snow laying on the ground. I was driving a Honda civic - front wheel drive, parked on level ground - and it was going nowhere for it bottomed out immediately. As the snow melted, I had icicles 4' long coming off my roof. They were beautiful. We had a pond, and the white snow contrasting with the dark water was picture-perfect scenery. This amount of snowfall reminds me of the NC mountains where I grew up. As a kid, I'd pray for snow just to get out of school - and many times that would happen. Again, thanks for answering this with a professional touch.