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Analysis is provided of a surprise late-season snow event over eastern Missouri and western Illinois. While snow totals failed to exceed 15 cm (6 in.) at any single location, the system was noteworthy because of the poor performance of public, private, and media forecasts in anticipating the event. Using observed data and a successful simulation with a mesoscale numerical model, the event is scrutinized to determine the forcing mechanisms for the precipitation over a small area. A region of enhanced frontogenesis is diagnosed over the region both in the observed data as well as the model output. That the precipitation fell as snow is shown to be the result of a dry layer of air between the surface and the cloud base that saturated and cooled due largely to snow sublimation–evaporation in just a few hours to permit the fall of snow uninhibited from the cloud base to the ground.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Market, P. S., Przybylinski, R. W., and Rochette, S. M., 2006, The Role of Sublimational Cooling in a Late-season Midwestern Snow Event, Wea. Forecasting, 21, 364-382. Available on publisher's site at

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