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Record U.S. Snowcover?

January 02, 2013; 1:28 PM

Social media has been abuzz with notes that the U.S. reached record snowcover over the holidays, but is this true? Short answer: Yes (see our story), but records have only been kept since 2003. Here's what the numbers look like for Dec. 27 and Jan. 1 (thanks to reader Ralph for the latter numbers). Ironically, it was just last year (2011) when we had set record low points.

This is what the map of snow depth looked like on Dec. 27, when snow was observed in 46 of 48 states, according to NOHRSC, which runs a computer model on satellite and observation data. MODIS satellite confirms that no snow was on the ground in South Carolina and Florida, but there was snow in Delaware and the Deep South. Snow depth is arguably more important, statistically, than snowcover, but NOHRSC does not calculate total depth percentage stats.

And before you even ask... Henry and I confirmed through our local NWS office (who spoke to NOHRSC) that the percentages are calculated only for the portion of the map including the white-bordered areas, as illustrated below, meaning that only an insignificant part of Canada (which is typically snowy anyway) is included in the stats.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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