Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



© 2016 American Meteorological Society

DOI: 10.1175/WAF-D-16-0011.1


A powerful winter storm affected the south-central United States in early March 2014, accompanied by elevated convective cells with hail and high rates of sleet, freezing rain, and snow. During portions of the event the thermal profile exhibited a shallow surface cold layer and warm, unstable air aloft. Precipitation falling into the cold layer refroze into ice pellets and was accompanied by a polarimetric refreezing signature and numerous crowdsourced surface ice pellet reports. Quasi-vertical profiles of the polarimetric variables indicated an enhanced reflectivity factor ZHH below the melting layer bright band and enhanced low-level differential reflectivity ZDR values coincident with surface ice pellet reports. Freezing rain rate was highest in areas with high ZHH and specific differential phase KDP values at low levels. High snow rates were most closely associated with 1- and 1.5-km ZHH values, though KDP and ZDR also appeared to show some ability to distinguish high snow rate. Numerous elevated convective cells contained rotating updrafts that appeared to contribute to storm longevity and intensity.Most containedwell-defined ZDR maxima or columns and relatively high base-scan ZDR values. Several contained polarimetric signatures consistent with heavy mixed-phase precipitation and hail; social media reports indicated that large hail was produced by some of the storms.