November 11 - 12, 2010--Flooding & Snow


A strong early season storm brought an interesting mix of weather to the Texas & Oklahoma Panhandles November 11-12, 2010.  This event was unusual because it began with strong thunderstorms affecting much of the area causing flooding problems, especially in Amarillo, before turning into a heavy snow event during the early morning hours of November 12. 

During the afternoon and evening of November 11, a pre-frontal trough moved into the central Panhandles and became stationary just west of Amarillo.  Thunderstorms began to develop along and ahead of this trough just after sunset.  It began as a narrow line of storms that extended from Hooker, OK, to Muleshoe, TX.  The upper-level flow, which helps to steer thunderstorms, was parallel to the trough and caused the storms to move directly up the line one right after another.  Meteorologists call this behavior "training."  Think of the storms as cars in a train moving down the railroad track.  Unfortunately, training of storms often leads to flooding rains, especially in areas with poor drainage.  In addition, subtropical moisture from the Pacific was being streamed into the Panhandles allowing for additional thunderstorm development on the southwestern end of the line.

 Selected Rainfall Totals from Nov. 11, 2010
NWS Amarillo 1.60"
Near Downtown Amarillo 3.31"
Borger 1.63"
Guymon 0.04"

As a cold front moved across the Panhandles, the line of storms began to slowly move east.  More thunderstorms developed along and behind the front.  As cold air from southwestern Canada poured into the Panhandles, the precipitation changed to snow during the early morning of Friday, November 12.  Most of the eastern Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma Panhandle were not affected by snow.  The central and southwestern portions of the Texas Panhandle were hit the hardest. 

The heaviest snow generally fell along the Interstate 40 corridor in the southwestern Texas Panhandle.  Some Panhandle residents may have been surprised to have heard thunder during the snow.  Thundersnow does not happen very often in the Panhandles.  When it does occur, it is a sign of a very strong storm.  Heavy snow bands can often be found when thundersnow is occurring.

Below is a table of preliminary snowfall totals received by NWS Amarillo as of Friday afternoon and a map depicting approximately where the heaviest snowfall totals occurred.

Location Snowfall Totals
NWS Amarillo 3.0
1 WSW Bushland
5 W Amarillo 5.0
3 NW Vega 5.0
6 S Wildorado 5.0
5 NNE Adrian 4.5
6 WNW Amarillo 4.5
Panhandle 4.0
1 NE Gruver 4.0
6 SW Amarillo 3.0
7 SW Amarillo 3.0
6 WSW Amarillo 3.0
Boys Ranch 2.5
2 WSW Borger 2.5
Dawn 2.0
Hereford 2.0
Dumas 2.0
1 NW Pampa 2.0
Pampa 1.5
Stinnett 1.2

Snowfall Map from November 12, 2010
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