Another amazingly snowy winter for the U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:18 PM GMT on February 11, 2011

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As northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas dig out from the two feet of snow dumped this winter's latest epic snowstorm, it's time to summarize how remarkable the snows of the past two winters have been. So far this winter, the Northeast U.S. has seen three Category 3 (major) or higher snow storms on the Northeast Snowfall Impact (NESIS) scale. This scale, which rates Northeast snowstorms by the area affected by the snowstorm, the amount of snow, and the number of people living in the path of the storm, runs from Category 1 (Notable) to Category 5 (Crippling.) This puts the winter of 2010 - 2011 in a tie for first place with the winters of 2009 - 2010 and 1960 - 1961 for most major Northeast snowstorms. All three of these winters had an extreme configuration of surface pressures over the Arctic and North Atlantic referred to as a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO). In this situation, the band of winds that circles the North Pole weakens, allowing cold air to spill southwards into the mid-latitudes.

In the past twelve months, we've had six major Category 3 or stronger storms on the NESIS scale, by far the most major snowstorms in a 12-month period in the historical record. Going back to 1956, only one 12-month period had as many as four major snowstorms--during 1960 - 1961. New York City has seen three of its top-ten snowstorms and the two snowiest months in its 142-year history during the past 12 months--February 2010 (36.9") and January 2011 (36.0"). Philadelphia has seen four of its top-ten snowstorm in history the past two winters. The Midwest has not been left out of the action this year, either--the Groundhog's Day blizzard nailed Chicago with its 3rd biggest snowstorm on record. According to the National Climatic Data Center, December 2010 saw the 7th greatest U.S. snow extent for the month in the 45-year record, and January 2011 the 5th most. December 2009 had the greatest snow extent for the month in the 45-year record, January 2010 the 6th most, and February 2010 the 3rd most. Clearly, the snows of the past two winters in the U.S. have been truly extraordinary.


Figure 1. The six major Category 3 Northeast snowstorms of the past twelve months. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

A cold January in the U.S.
January 2011 was the coldest January in the contiguous U.S. since 1994, according to the National Climatic Data Center, and ranked as the 37th coldest January in the 117-year record. Despite the heavy snows in the Northeast U.S., January was the 9th driest January since 1895. This was largely due to the fact that the Desert Southwest was very dry, with New Mexico recording its driest January, and Arizona and Nevada their second driest.

A cold and record snowy winter (yet again!) in the U.S. does not prove or disprove the existence of climate change or global warming, as we must instead focus on global temperatures averaged over decades. Globally, January 2011 was the 11th warmest since 1880, but tied for the second coolest January of the past decade, according to NASA. NOAA has not yet released their stats for January. The cool-down in global temperatures since November 2010, which was the warmest November in the historical record, is largely due to the temporary cooling effect of the strong La NiƱa event occurring in the Eastern Pacific. This event has cooled a large portion of the surface waters in the Pacific, leading to a cooler global temperature.

Some posts of interest I've done on snow and climate change over the past year:

Hot Arctic-Cold Continents Pattern is back (December 2010)
The future of intense winter storms (March 2010)
Heavy snowfall in a warming world (February 2010)

Have a great weekend, everyone, and enjoy the coming warm-up, those of you in the eastern 2/3 of the country!

Jeff Masters

Snow and icicle sun (emilinetdd)
Snow and icicle sun
Cardinal City (dypepper)
Another exciting day for me, shooting the Cardinals in the Snow!
Cardinal City

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Quoting Orcasystems:


ROFLMAO, when the season gets ready to start... it will happen again... I think there is just a little to much Cabin Fever right now :)

We are in desperate need of a Blob :)
LOL... I always find it kinda amusing how this blog can go nuts over some blob out there while mature storms have become passe.... lol. To me fronts in the tropics are not the same... too long and skinny....
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1099. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
any PWS owners out there having problems with the update to wunderground as all stations are currently showing NA including my own
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Let's not forget about Karl,and Alex either.Maybe Richard is a canadid.But who knows.Mexico is famous for not retiering storms.
I doubt Richard, or Karl, 4 that matter. They strike me as pretty typical for this type of season.
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Quoting RecordSeason:


If you believe anyone produced a graph with 0.1c or even 1c precision across 2000 years using anecdotal evidence and core samples you really are gullible.


Added to my ignore. Problem solved. Jflorida and the rest rest are right, you don't want to listen.

So I don't want to listen to you, c ya never again. Haloreach fan will be added to my ignore too if I see him post again.

Ike is right, you are literally an absolute waste of time. I feel sorry for anyone else who wastes their time with recordseason or Haloreachfan.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting Neapolitan:


The WMO RA IV Hurricane Committee meets in the Cayman Islands March 8-12 (Info)

--Jamaica will not ask for Nicole to be retired, though it indirectly cost the island many lives and hundreds of millions in damage.

--It seems a certainty that Canada will request retirement of Igor: "Igor has been described as the worst storm in memory. It was unparalleled in that there are no records of hurricanes/post tropical events of this magnitude striking the Province in the modern era....Hurricane Igor changed the mindset of the people of the Province; no longer can we look at hurricanes as something that happens elsewhere. The storm will serve as the benchmark against which all future storms will be measured."

--Hermine was the most expensive storm for the U.S. in 2010 at $240 million, but the NHC won't request retirement.

--Matthew's retirement will likely will be requested, as will Tomas'
Hmmm.... meeting a bit earlier than usual.... I concur with ur proposed picks. But what about Alex? Wouldn't the Mexican government request?
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Quoting Neapolitan:


The WMO RA IV Hurricane Committee meets in the Cayman Islands March 8-12 (Info)

--Jamaica will not ask for Nicole to be retired, though it indirectly cost the island many lives and hundreds of millions in damage.

--It seems a certainty that Canada will request retirement of Igor: "Igor has been described as the worst storm in memory. It was unparalleled in that there are no records of hurricanes/post tropical events of this magnitude striking the Province in the modern era....Hurricane Igor changed the mindset of the people of the Province; no longer can we look at hurricanes as something that happens elsewhere. The storm will serve as the benchmark against which all future storms will be measured."

--Hermine was the most expensive storm for the U.S. in 2010 at $240 million, but the NHC won't request retirement.

--Matthew's retirement will likely will be requested, as will Tomas'
Let's not forget about Karl,and Alex either.Maybe Richard is a canadid.But who knows.Mexico is famous for not retiering storms.
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Quoting Grothar:



They were nice days, weren't they Baha?? I am going post this for you.

Ah... now that takes me back... lol

Interesting to see that our AEW train hasn't really disappeared, just gone further south along with the ITCZ... No wonder the jungles are concentrated along central Africa and near the Amazon....

Also u can see Bingiza just along the eastern edge there... not doing so well right now, is it?
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Quoting Grothar:



They were nice days, weren't they Baha?? I am going post this for you.

IMG style="MAX-WIDTH: 501px" src="http://oiswww.eumetsat.org/IPPS/html/MSG/RGB/ DUST/FUL I wonder if the tropical waves will be impressive early just like they were last year.Last year gave us a good indication that we were goin to probally see many impressive cape verde storms.And it did happen.But even if we don't see impressive waves this year,that doesn't mean we won't be under the gun.2005 is a good exsample.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Does anyone know when they start annoucing wicth hurricane names will be retired?.I can't find an accurate date on oole.I think I already know which names will be retired though.


The WMO RA IV Hurricane Committee meets in the Cayman Islands March 8-12 (Info)

--Jamaica will not ask for Nicole to be retired, though it indirectly cost the island many lives and hundreds of millions in damage.

--It seems a certainty that Canada will request retirement of Igor: "Igor has been described as the worst storm in memory. It was unparalleled in that there are no records of hurricanes/post tropical events of this magnitude striking the Province in the modern era....Hurricane Igor changed the mindset of the people of the Province; no longer can we look at hurricanes as something that happens elsewhere. The storm will serve as the benchmark against which all future storms will be measured."

--Hermine was the most expensive storm for the U.S. in 2010 at $240 million, but the NHC won't request retirement.

--Matthew's retirement will likely will be requested, as will Tomas'
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
Quoting Orcasystems:
Ok, none weather related post... but something that may be of Interest to all.

This news item is just a bit disturbing.

Interview Raises Questions Over Weapons Of Mass Effect In SD

BTW, when did they change the name to "Effect"?


Im sure just cause "Destruction" sounds much scarier to the uninformed person
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1086. Grothar
Quoting BahaHurican:
Wait.... I'm feeling a moment of nostalgia here.... in the "good old days" we used to do more of this, i. e. looking up new sources, evaluating current sources, and reading up on TC research that had come out in the previous year....

Special thanks to washintonian115 for that retro moment....



They were nice days, weren't they Baha?? I am going post this for you.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26426
Quoting BahaHurican:
Wait.... I'm feeling a moment of nostalgia here.... in the "good old days" we used to do more of this, i. e. looking up new sources, evaluating current sources, and reading up on TC research that had come out in the previous year....

Special thanks to washintonian115 for that retro moment....


ROFLMAO, when the season gets ready to start... it will happen again... I think there is just a little to much Cabin Fever right now :)

We are in desperate need of a Blob :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting BahaHurican:
They usually announce retirees after a conference held sometime in April.

That's usually about when the next round of forecasts for the upcoming season start to come out as well.
Quoting wxgeek723:


Early April
Thank you for the info and different sites Baha.And thank you to wxeek723.
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What about the page u posted the other night with the graphics on the latest global TCs, Pat.... I know I have that site bookmarked somewhere, but now can't find it.

I really need to spend an afternoon just sorting through and reorganizing my wx links. I've got about 100 of em just stuffed together in a folder headed "hurricanes".... no particular order...
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Wait.... I'm feeling a moment of nostalgia here.... in the "good old days" we used to do more of this, i. e. looking up new sources, evaluating current sources, and reading up on TC research that had come out in the previous year....

Special thanks to washintonian115 for that retro moment....
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1081. Patrap
A good site to bookmark as well for Sat Images and loops all compiled on one page.

Some Links are outdated but most are active.

re-loaded html

Global and Regional Composite Satellite Imagery

...a part of the International Weather Satellite Images.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Quoting BahaHurican:
EUMETSAT also is an excellent source of satellite imagery across Africa, along with the western part of Indian Ocean. Their imagery is useful both for the SIndian season that's really just getting underway now as well as for watching AEWs move across the continent and emerge into the NATL as potential Twaves for our season.



I use it a lot, they have a very good interface with Google Earth

Link
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting Orcasystems:


Here is another good one for Europe :)
Link
EUMETSAT also is an excellent source of satellite imagery across Africa, along with the western part of Indian Ocean. Their imagery is useful both for the SIndian season that's really just getting underway now as well as for watching AEWs move across the continent and emerge into the NATL as potential Twaves for our season.

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1078. Patrap
NAVY/NRL



This work is supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) via program element 0602435N and the Space and Naval Warfare Command (SPAWAR PMW-185) via program element 060207N.

Thanks to the Joint Typhoon Weather Center, the Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Center, and the Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Center for the ATCF warning graphics.

7541@nrlmry.navy.mil Section Head - Satellite Meteorological Applications (Code 7541)
7541jt@nrlmry.navy.mil 1-Km products
7541kr@nrlmry.navy.mil SSM/I products
7541tl@nrlmry.navy.mil SSM/I products
7543bs@nrlmry.navy.mil ATCF products
webmaster@nrlmry.navy.mil Web page design/CGI scripts
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Ok, none weather related post... but something that may be of Interest to all.

This news item is just a bit disturbing.

Interview Raises Questions Over Weapons Of Mass Effect In SD

BTW, when did they change the name to "Effect"?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Pat, what's the Navy's website where they put up TCs from around the world? JTCW? [These acronyms are killers....]
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1075. JRRP
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Quoting BahaHurican:
http://severe.worldweather.wmo.int/rsmcs.html
Global RSMC list.

http://severe.worldweather.wmo.int/tcwcs.html
Global TCWC list

When I started reading Dr. Master's blog, a lot of these offices didn't have websites. Now everybody's pretty sophisticated in their web presence.

Plus most of the local national met offices [e.g. here in the Bahamas] have a web page of sorts. For example we were able to access radar in Cuba and Mexico last year when storms were in their vicinity....


Here is another good one for Europe :)
Link
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting washingtonian115:
Does anyone know when they start annoucing wicth hurricane names will be retired?.I can't find an accurate date on oole.I think I already know which names will be retired though.
They usually announce retirees after a conference held sometime in April.

That's usually about when the next round of forecasts for the upcoming season start to come out as well.
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1072. Patrap

Wundergound has a Hurricane Archive on the right side of the Tropical Page

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
http://severe.worldweather.wmo.int/rsmcs.html
Global RSMC list.

http://severe.worldweather.wmo.int/tcwcs.html
Global TCWC list

When I started reading Dr. Master's blog, a lot of these offices didn't have websites. Now everybody's pretty sophisticated in their web presence.

Plus most of the local national met offices [e.g. here in the Bahamas] have a web page of sorts. For example we were able to access radar in Cuba and Mexico last year when storms were in their vicinity....
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Does anyone know when they start annoucing wicth hurricane names will be retired?.I can't find an accurate date on oole.I think I already know which names will be retired though.


Early April
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Ouch!.It's not hurricane season yet so I can't get real series becuase their's no storm to track.And for other basins I can't et any real information since I'm in the U.S,and sources are limited.Wikipedia almost always have wron information about other storms in other basins.


There are some pretty good sources out there nowadays for most of the other basins - much better than in the past, anyway.

I usually check out the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Fiji Met Office, PAGASA, Mauritius Department of MeteoFrance and JMO.

This is also a useful start page because it provides links to specific Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs).
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Does anyone know when they start annoucing wicth hurricane names will be retired?.I can't find an accurate date on oole.I think I already know which names will be retired though.
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1066. Patrap
re:1063.




The NOAA page has lotsa words on the Solar Forcing and its negligible observed effect on the Warming

Global Climate Change Indicators
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Climatic Data Center



Energy from the Sun Has Not Increased



Global surface temperature (top, blue) and the Sun's energy received at the top of Earth's atmosphere (red, bottom). Solar energy has been measured by satellites since 1978.

The amount of solar energy received at the top of our atmosphere has followed its natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs, but with no net increase. Over the same period, global temperature has risen markedly. This indicates that it is extremely unlikely that solar influence has been a significant driver of global temperature change over several decades.





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Geez, people!!!!

STOP BICKERING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is Sunday morning, a day most people try to relax and DESTRESS!!!!!!

Orca, Pat, Levi, MikeSTL, all the other bloggers out there... just cool out, meng!!!!

{sheesh}
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I actually don't disagree with any of them.. granted I am very tired of seeing the same old argument. The only reason I stepped in was in defence of Levi.

This is a Tropical weather site.. Levi is a major asset to that part of the discussion, he is also young and may say something to the old dinosaurs that could get him banned... or worse, disillusioned with the Blog.

The other parties involved very seldom contribute to the tropical weather side... unless they can find a way to spin GW into it.

You will notice I could care less when they go at each other.
Ouch!.It's not hurricane season yet so I can't get real series becuase their's no storm to track.And for other basins I can't et any real information since I'm in the U.S,and sources are limited.Wikipedia almost always have wron information about other storms in other basins.
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All, I follow this blog mostly silently and read it for the average excellent content from Dr. Masters and the dedicated members who post here. I do appreciate the occasional controversial opinions that are posted. But as of late...I sense the blog has gone down somewhat. We need to collectively bring it up a notch. I offer a few thoughts for the long term....

First, don't turn professional differences of opinion into personal ones.

2. I don't believe in single factor causation in most things. There are many influencing factors in weather. We live in a system of systems relative to weather. Don't forget Space Weather.

3. Has there been enough study of the effects of the sun and solar wind on our climate inclusive to all the "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" arguments?
I would like to hear opinion on this as an influencing factor added to the rest of them...

4. The weather directly effects our wallets. When the weather news is slow...at times it would be interesting to see what all of us are doing to minimize the financial impacts of weather in our daily lives. Useful information indeed.

5. Whether you love, hate or tolerate big oil and the resultant climate impacts...getting off is going to be a generational change. Going "green" with $40K Chevy Volts, and other hybrids is beyond the reach of most of the populace that makes $7.25 an hour or lives on fixed incomes. When the cost of alternative energy vehicles is affordable, when it is cheaper to recharge or refill that gasoline, when there are enough recharge/refill stations as we have now with gas stations, and the range performance of these vehicles is similar to gas cars...I see the tipping point where we get off fossil fuel and seriously stop dumping C02 and other pollutants in the atmosphere. Concurrently we reduce and possibly eliminate future oil wars. (Yes I fought in the first two oil wars.)
However, I won't switch to an electric car until the cost of a battery replacement won't wipe out my savings in gasoline for the same period of ownership. In the mean time I will go to higher mileage gasoline cars that make the most financial sense right now. In another sense, the race to reduce individual human impacts on "climate change" is proportional to the speed of new vehicle technology and cost, refill access and affordable refills. Lastly, do the math on watts to recharge an electric vehicle at your house and see if you are really going to save money...or its just a transfer payment out of your wallet from the oil company to the electric company.

5. We are lucky to have Dr Master's Blogs and this forum to make comment. Whether you agree with his position or not, we are lucky to have his ongoing data and analysis, and his boldness to present it here. It's lonely at the top and he takes professional risk in doing what he does. Give him a break. I am convinced that if the body of data changes and more is learned...he will be at the forefront in getting this out to us.

Back in my foxhole...thanks for reading...

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1061. Patrap
Loyalty is a fine trait.

Comfort in numbers as well.

Moving on,,




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Quoting swampliliy:



Glad you agree :))


ROFL.. be good Swampy..let him be.
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Quoting Patrap:
Yeah,,really uncalled for



591. Orcasystems 11:39 AM CST on February 12, 2011




Glad you agree :))
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Quoting Patrap:
Yeah,,really uncalled for



591. Orcasystems 11:39 AM CST on February 12, 2011



If your going to quote and want to keep it in context.. you should post the one I was replying to also.

I'm not going to pick a fight with you on the Blog Pat, its a waste of everyone's time and bandwidth.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
1056. Patrap
Yeah,,really uncalled for



591. Orcasystems 11:39 AM CST on February 12, 2011

Quoting Orcasystems:


Pat, stick to something you know... I am well aware of your qualifications.

I am asking someone who appears to have knowledge on the subject a legitimate question. Its actually something I want to know.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Quoting Patrap:
US Cuban Hurricane Conference

Vacuum not included


Uncalled for, Pat
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Quoting Grothar:


One cannot tell whose blog it is any more. There are so many who have left or very rarely post here anymore. It has been taken over by blog-hogs. I don't even believe that there is much passion on either side of the debate. My opinion is that certain bloggers just want to show how smart they are and win an argument. It is really getting disgusting on both sides. Youth, is not now, or has ever been, an excuse for rudeness. However, they are not the only ones who share blame. What impresses me the most is not what some of these bloggers "know", but what they do not know. If they have to resort to bickering and name-calling, let them do it in private and not subject the rest of us to it.


Exactly. This blog has been taken over by people whos egos are too large even for themselves who brag about this thing and that thing and who think they're always right no matter what. I don't think it's a weather blog anymore, I think it's just a place where people dish it out about GW. This might seem a little weird, but I can't wait for hurricane season, so that there's no more talk about GW and who's right, and it's about hurricanes and where they're going. Wishcasting, while I hate it myself, I would love to see it compared to this stuff.
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Complete Update





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1052. Patrap
feel free to expound,,

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Quoting Patrap:
US Cuban Hurricane Conference

Vacuum not included


Are you really sure you want to start this with everything I know about you?

Thats your second shot at me.
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1050. Patrap
US Cuban Hurricane Conference

Vacuum not included
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.