Unusual early winter cold moved out of Canada in the last week of November 1896. Few low temperature records were set but the cold was persistent and held sway from Mississippi and Alabama across Georgia and all the way to the Carolina. Fortunately for the first few days of the cold outbreak there was no precipitation. On December 1, 1896 a reinforcing surge of air reached the region all the way from the Arctic, at the same time a storm was gathering strength on the Gulf coast near New Orleans. That storm system moved east northeastward across the southern portions of Alabama and pulled moisture out of the Gulf. Snow began to break out all across Dixie. When the storm departed on the evening of December 2, 1896 records for snowfall had been set in many southern cites for the month of December. 4 inches fell in Raleigh with more than half a foot of snow in Atlanta and 10 inches in Charlotte, North Carolina and Greeneville, South Carolina. Without any means to clear the snow from city streets commerce came to a halt for several days.
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