Summary to date (February 15) of Record Snowfalls during the 2010-2011 Season

By: Christopher C. Burt , 5:27 AM GMT on February 15, 2011

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Summary to Date (as of February 15th) of Record Snowfalls during the 2010-2011 Season

A major pattern change is taking place across the lower 48 states of the U.S.A. and at least for the time being the never-ending succession of heavy snowstorms that has plagued the Midwest and East Coast seems to have come to an end. I thought it would be a good time to take stock of what has happened record-snow-wise so far this season. This blog is also to compliment Dr. Jeff Masters blog posted on February 11th, “Another amazingly snowy winter for the U.S.”.

DECEMBER

Prior to December the fall snow season was a lack luster affair. This all came to the end when extraordinary lake-effect snowfalls plastered upstate New York and southern Ontario, Canada on December 4-9. This was followed by an historic snowstorm in Minnesota and Wisconsin On December 10-12. December 15-23 saw up to 10 feet of snow in California’s Sierra and then the granddaddy snow event buried the Mid-Atlantic States Dec. 25-27. Here is a summary of some of December’s all-time snow records:

Syracuse, New York: All-time single storm record 46.2” December 4-9 (old record 43.4” on March 12-15, 1993);. 72.3” for month is 2nd snowiest month on record (snowiest month was January 2004 with 78.1”).

Eau Claire, Wisconsin: 22.0” on December 11; all-time 24-hour and single storm record (old record 18.0” for 24-hours on Febraury 27, 1893 and for single-storm 18.5” February 22-25, 1929). 17.1” in Minneapolis is one of the top ten greatest storms on record.

Atlantic City, New Jersey: 20.0” on December 26-27; all-time 24-hour snowfall record (old record 18.0” on February 17, 2003). 32.0” at Rahway and Elizabeth, NY is within 3” of New Jersey state record for a 24-hour snowfall. New York City’s 20.0” accumulation 6th greatest snowstorm on record.

Youngstown, Ohio: All-time snowiest month on record with 53.1” (old record 36.4” in January 1999).



Bradley Beach, New Jersey was hammered with a 30” snow accumulation during the December 26-27 snow event. Photo by Janice Hopkins.

JANUARY

One of the snowiest months on record for portions of the Northeast thanks to two major blizzards on January 9-13 and again on January 26-27. Also, a freak lake-effect snowstorm buried South Bend, Indiana on January 5-8. Some of the records broken:

South Bend, Indiana: All-time 24-hour snowfall of 32.4” on January 7-8 (old record 20.0” on January 30, 1909) and all-time single storm record of 38.1” on January 5-8 (old record 32.0” on January 29-31, 1909). The latter was also a state record for INDIANA (old record was 37.0” at La Porte February 14-19, 1958).

Newark, New Jersey: All-time snowiest month on record; 37.4” (old record 33.4” in January 1994).

Hartford, Conecticut: All-time 24-hour and single storm record snow of 24.0” on January 11-12 (old record for 24 hours was 21.9” on February 11-12, 2006 and for single storm 23.5” on February 13-14, 1899). Also, snowiest month on record with 57.0” total (smashing old monthly record of 45.3” in December 1945).

New Haven, Connecticut: All-time 24-hour snowfall of 28.5” on January 11-12 (breaks the old 28.0” record set during the famous March Blizzard of 1888). Also, snowiest single month on record with 56.6” (old record 46.3” in February 1934).

Pittsfield, Massachusetts: All-time 24-hour snowfall of 25.5” on January 12 (old record 24.0” on March 22, 1977). Snowiest month on record with 52.2” (old record 51.7” in December 1969).

Glasgow, Montana:: All-time snowiest month on record with 41.6” (old record 32.9” in January 2004).

New York City, New York: Snowfall of 19.8” on January 26-27 is 8th greatest storm on record and leads to a monthly total of 36.0” the 2nd greatest monthly total on record (snowiest month on record was just last February, 2010 with 36.9” at Central Park). There are 142 years of continuous snow records maintained at this site.



A Times Square, New York City web cam captures the January 26-27 blizzard during its peak ferocity around 1 a.m. on January 27th. The snowfall rate was 4”/hour at this time.

FEBRUARY (as of the 15th)

The great Groundhogs Day blizzard of Feb. 1-3 is ranked as one of the most extreme on record. Another powerful blizzard on February 8-10 strikes Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas with record snowfalls.



The winter advisories map for the blizzard of January 31-February 2 illustrates the vast size of the storm system that affected over 100 million Americans. Graphic from wunderground.com

Chicago, Illinois Third greatest snowfall in history with 21.2" (O'Hare Airport) on January 31-February 2. (Single greatest storm is 23.0" on January 26-27, 1967).

Tulsa, Oklahoma: All-time 24-hour snowfall of 14.0” on January 31-February 1 leads to all-time greatest snow depth of 16.0” by February 2. Also, Tulsa has now had its snowiest single month on record with 22.5” as of February 15 (old record was 19.7” in March 1924).

Arkansas: Almost an all-time state snowfall record for 24-hour and single-greatest-storm was set at Siloam Springs in Benton County with 24.5” of snow on February 9th. One foot of this fell in just 3 hours near Jasper between 5:30-8:30 a.m. The state record still holds at 25.0” at Corning on January 22, 1918.


SEASON TO DATE RECORDS

The following sites have already recorded their all-time snowiest winter season on record as of February 15th:

Tulsa, Oklahoma: 26.6” (old record 25.4” in 1923-1924)

Youngstown, Ohio: 92.4” (old record 85.3” in 1950-1951)

Glasgow, Montana: 80.7” (old record 70.7” in 2003-2004).

NOTE: I will be overseas until March 9th and so will be posting my next blog following my return.

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5. BriarCraft
5:32 PM GMT on February 21, 2011
At least in the Pacific NW, it seems that the definition of El Nino/La Nina is changing. Or maybe it's the area of influence that's changing. Just curious, because certainly the eastern 2/3 of the country has gotten hammered.

Historically speaking a La Nina is supposed to result in cooler and wetter than normal in the Pacific NW. This winter, so far, has averaged warmer and dryer than normal, which is supposed to mean El Nino. Last spring, while everyone was talking El Nino, it sure felt like La Nina here. And La Nina was announced along about June. Or is meteorology like economics, where a recession is announced a year after everyone knows it's happening?
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 84 Comments: 4207
1. Neapolitan
3:00 PM GMT on February 16, 2011
Those are some amazing snowfall totals. It makes me wonder whether the worst is behind us, or whether spring might just might have some surprises in store...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13625

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About weatherhistorian

Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.