The 20 January 2001 Winter Storm
in the Mountains of North Carolina
NOAA/National Weather Service
Total snow accumulation in inches for the 20 January 2001 event.
Author's Note: The following report has not been subjected to the scientific peer review process.
The map above represents snowfall totals from the snow event, most of
which fell during the afternoon and overnight hours of 20 January 2001.
This was primarily a "Northwest Flow" event with most of the snow
accumulation occurring as northwest winds, behind low pressure exiting
the region to the northeast, were lifted over the mountains. The
cooling and moistening of the air as it was lifted resulted in a period
of light to moderate snow, which affected the Tennessee border counties,
and a few higher elevations a little further east.
The accompanying visible satellite image, taken about 1500 UTC the next
morning, shows areas where snow had fallen the previous day. It had been
a warm couple of weeks before the snow event, so most of the lighter
coloring over the mountains represents new snow. There were a few rather
impressive totals from the storm, with Mt. LeConte reporting in with a
foot of new snow. Up to 8 inches of new snow fell at the higher
elevations of Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Wolf Laurel in eastern
Madison County had 6 inches of snow and up to 8 inches was reported in
northern Avery County.
Visible satellite imagery from GOES-12 at 1500 UTC on 21 January 2001. Click on
image to enlarge.
There is a thin finger of snow along the Haywood/Jackson county line
between Waynesville and Cullowhee. This area of heavier snow amounts,
up to 4 inches, is along the higher elevations of the Plott Balsam
Mountains, which run in a northwest to southeast orientation along the
county line. This is a very typical snowfall distribution for northwest