Remembering the Good After The Storm Passes... A Look Back At February 2021
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Yes, the historic cold and snow caused a lot of problems, but as I look back at it, I'll always remember the good time I had with my family. We just walked around the neighborhood in amazement and stayed out late one night sledding down a fantastic hill. 40 + year old men were acting like 10 year olds in the snow. Yes, me included. I grabbed my old snow skies out of the attic to give it a try down the neighborhood roads. Now I appreciate ski resort lifts! Going inside together and drinking hot chocolate watching the big flakes of snow continue to pile up will top my memory despite those rolling blackouts.
We will tell your kids and grandkids about what happened this week 2 year ago. The stories and tales will grow larger and larger, but that's only because they were true. What a week!
I remember seeing the threat for bitterly cold arctic air on the modeling 1-2 weeks prior to its arrival, but the more reliable European model kept backing off on it and delaying it. There were even a few runs which never showed it making it into Arkansas. Honestly, I was baffled. The GFS was insistent on most of its runs nothing was going to stop the cold air. It made sense given the magnitude of what was building over the arctic. However, the GFS has a terrible cold bias in the long range. Was it going to hit forecast gold this time? We all know the answer.
Meteorologist James Bryant, Barry Brandt, Melinda Mayo and I discussed it several times a day. I even reached out to WeatherBell meteorologist Joe Bastardi. James and I ended up having a conference call with him several days prior to the big event. He confirmed my suspicions about the Euro. The Euro kept lifting the cold air over the Rocky mountains causing a feedback error. It was shoving too much cold over the continental divide instead of where it usually goes, SOUTH! Joe always is brilliant with pattern recognition and used 1899 as an analog. This has happened in the past! More than a week away, he (Joe) issued ominous warnings about Texas and the power supply. He was right.
Once the cold arrived, I set up my snow machine in my backyard and cranked out several inches of snow before mother nature could make her own. Pictures are below in the gallery. Days later, my wife insisted NEVER again after we had to shovel that and the snow from two historic storms.
On Valentine's day, I watched the models spit out almost 27'' of snow for central Arkansas. I looked at my wife and just laughed in disbelief. I told her it would be history making if the NAM was correct. It ended up not being far off.
Honestly, there were so many records broken, so much to cover at the station, traveling back-and-forth to work that the week was a blur. It was tough to sit down and appreciate what unfolded and soak in the history.
I remember the fire alarms going off inside the station during Good Afternoon Arkansas, but there was no fire. Turned out a large pipe burst flooding a portion of the building. I walked out onto 4th street to rivers of water winding its way between massive piles of snow.
Both of those storms were classic heavy hitting snows in Arkansas. What made this very unique was the back-to-back nature of the storms with the extreme cold. I don't think we'll ever see anything like that again in our lifetime, BUT this is Arkansas.
ALWAYS, thanks for trusting the Channel 7 weather team.