A Flaky Snowfall Gradient Across the Appalachians! (credit: NWS Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina)
DISCUSSION: As the sun finally set on the Appalachian Mountains yesterday evening, many people were enveloped in white as there was a solid coating of snow on the ground for many across this region. Having said that, it goes without saying (based on briefly analyzing the graphic attached above) that there was quite a pronounced gradient of snowfall which developed. This gradient in snowfall which is defined by a change in the amount of snowfall over some given distance and often tends to be found over short distances in many cases was most likely the result of "orographic effects."
Orographic effects or what we most often refer to as "orographic lifting" in the meteorological world is best defined as when air parcels are more aggressively forced to rise over some elevated surface (e.g., a plateau or mountain). As this process occurs, more moisture is squeezed out a result of the parcel being forced to expand further and release increased amounts of atmospheric water vapor. Thus, orographic lifting will therefore consequently help a region to receive locally higher precipitation amounts which is precisely what unfolded in this particular case within the NWS Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina coverage warning area.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz