Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State Of Snow

We've talked a fair bit about the state of the snow cover in the US in December and how putrid, pathetic, and awful it was...well, maybe not that exaggerated but we did chat about how snow cover in December and early January was the lowest we had seen since 2006 in the lower 48 and surmised about the various reasons behind it.

How are we doing now?  Well, a bit better but compared to the last few years we're still a bit starved for snow.

Through yesterday, 40.8% of the lower 48 was covered by at least some snow, which is up a good bit from last December at this time (we were around 30% coverage on Christmas Eve).   Snow cover is prevalent in the mountainous west, which has picked up quite a bit of snow over the past week or so, as well as increasing in quantity across the Midwest and Great Lakes after struggling to get snow for the early portions of winter.  We (and our friends north and west of us in Central Pennsylvania) also had some snow on the ground, although a lot of that in the Appalachians and in portions of Southern New England will finish its melt by this time Friday thanks to incoming rainfall.

While we're getting better in the snowy standings, 2012 is still the least snowy year in the last few nationally.   At the same time last year, we were looking at 47.3% of the nation covered by at least some snow, with the geographic extent of snow extending much farther south (Ohio Valley, Missouri, a bit more extensive snow pack across the Appalachians and Midwest, plus a healthy snow pack in the Northeast)....and this was before the thundersnowstorm that hit us a couple of days later.

The extent and depth of the snowpack in 2011 was higher than this year as well (the average depth nationally is 4.1" as of yesterday for those with snow on the ground, 6.7" a year ago).    In terms of percentage, 2012 does rank above 2009 (38.2% through yesterday) in terms of percentage of coverage, but both years are the least snowy nationally since 2006.   While not the bumper crop of snow that the nation has seen the last couple of winters, we're at least seeing a return some signs of January being January in a number of places nationally.  Here, our January is acting a bit more volatile and moody in terms of temperature swings but at least we've even been able to cash in on a few flakes.