Not heaviest, but earliest

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — Although the big day is still about two weeks away, it was certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the River Parish area after an unexpected downpour of snow blanketed most of southeast Louisiana Thursday.

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service office in Slidell said forecasts from earlier in the week called for chilly temperatures and precipitation, but nothing near the level of snowfall that came down steadily for about an hour and a half Thursday morning.

“It really caught us by surprise,” said Meteorologist Danielle Manning. “We mentioned the possibility of some sporadic flakes, but no one thought there would be any accumulation on the ground.”

Manning said about 2 inches of snow fell in the LaPlace area, with most of the accumulation happening on grassy or muddy surfaces. Manning said temperatures never dropped below 33 degrees, so the precipitation was not given the opportunity to ice over any streets. Most of the snow had melted away by the afternoon hours, which brought more freezing rain.

Records from the National Weather Service state that the last time measurable snow fell in the area was December 25, 2004, when half an inch covered the area. The highest level of snow to fall in the region was about 3 inches, which fell December 30, 1963. Thursday’s snowfall was the earliest snow the region has ever seen.