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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)– January has become a month we almost expect snow to occur.

The coldest temperatures on record in north Alabama and some of the biggest snow and ice storms have all happened in the first month of the year.

Five years ago tonight, a big snowstorm was plowing through the South, and it would become Huntsville’s third largest snowfall total on record. The National Weather Service in Huntsville lists the New Year’s Eve snowstorm in 1963-1964 as the biggest snow event in Huntsville. A whopping 17.1 inches fell. January 7-8, 1988 saw the second biggest snow total with over 9.5 inches.

The official snow total for the January 9-10, 2011 event was 8.9 inches, though parts of the Valley saw much more. Over a foot (14.1 inches) fell at Center Star in Lauderdale County!

To put 2011’s event in perspective, as many as four inches of the total amount of snow fell within a matter of about an hour. Rare thundersnow was also reported and even caught on video by our storm chaser Mike Wilhelm. Click here to see a gallery of more than 200 of Mike’s pictures from the day after the snowstorm.