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Snowmageddon for the Mid-Atlantic

By Joe D'Aleo
Monday, February 22, 2010

Time Magazine tells us record Mid-Atlantic snows are consistent with or even resulting from global warming. The New York Times and other environmentally friendly media agreed. But as we have been saying natural factors are at play that are making this winter more like the cold period from the late 1950s to 1970s.

The last few years, the media ignored the snow that set all-time records further north in much of western and southern Canada, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and overseas in Europe, south China, Middle East, South America and New Zealand. But when it falls in the normally bare ground Mid-Atlantic and especially in the capitol where the politicians, environmental NGO and alternative energy lobby calls home, it can no longer be ignored. Especially on a day when NOAA had planned a press release on their new Climate Service, which had to be done via a phone teleconference.


So the green media and alarmists spin the tale that these storms are what you expect during global warming. Actually friends they conflict with statements from the IPCC and EPA Technical Support Document that drew on the NOAA CCSP.


EPA TSD ES3 “Rising temperatures have generally resulted in rain rather than snow in locations and seasons where climatological average (1961–1990) temperatures were close to 0°C. (32F).


IPCC FAQ 3.2 Observations show that changes are occurring in the amount, intensity, frequency and type of precipitation. More precipitation now falls as rain rather than snow in northern regions.  For a future warmer climate, models project a 50 to 100% decline in the frequency of cold air outbreaks relative to the present in NH winters in most areas.

The 2009 U.S. Climate Impacts Report found that “large-scale cold-weather storm systems have gradually tracked to the north in the U.S. over the past 50 years.”


Preliminary all-time seasonal snowfall records set at the three major climate sites in the Baltimore-Washington area...The Washington-Baltimore January average temperatures are near freezing (BWI 32.3F, DCA 34.9F, IAD 31.7F). February in Dulles, the coldest spot averages 34.8. They are running 6.8F below normal. Dulles month-to-date has had 38.6 inches not including today. IAD was 0.8F below normal in December when the first snow came (35.2F vs. 36F average).

With the 10.8 inch two-day snowfall total measured at Ronald Reagan/Washington National Airport...the seasonal snowfall total in Washington DC stands at 55.9 inches.  This would break the previous all-time seasonal snowfall record of 54.4 inches set in the winter of 1898-99.  Official snowfall records for Washington DC date back 126 years to 1884.

With the 19.5 inch two-day snowfall total measured at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport...the seasonal snowfall total in Baltimore stands at 79.9 inches.  This would break the previous all-time seasonal snowfall record for Baltimore of 62.5 inches set in the winter of 1995-96.  Official snowfall records for Baltimore date back 118 years to 1893.

The two-day snowfall total at Dulles was 9.3 inches...which would make this year's seasonal snowfall total 75.0 inches.  This would break the previous snowfall record of 61.9 inches set in 1995-96.  Official snowfall records for Dulles date back 48 years to 1962.

In Philadelphia, 71.6 inches has fallen this year breaking the seasonal record of 65.5 inches.  Atlantic City, NJ has had 49.9 inches, breaking the record of 46.9 inches set in 1966-1967.

Though MUCH less snowy this year (note NYC Central Park has seen 25.5 inches and Boston’s Logan Airport 30.1 inches as of February 11), recent years have seen big time snows in cities further north even though like DC their temperatures are not far from the 32F level in their climatology.


New York City's Central Park has a January (their coldest month) average temperature of 0.1°C and winter average of 1.0°C. For the first time since records began in the 1860s, Central Park reported four successive years of 40 inches of snow or more ending in the winter of 2005/06. On February 11-12, 2006, Central Park broke the all-time single snowstorm record with 26.9 inches of snow. Also in 1995/96, Central Park and most other cities in the central and eastern US had all-time record seasonal snowfall. In Central Park, that winter brought 76 inches of snow.

Boston, MA where the winter temperature averages -0.1°C, the 12 year average snowfall in the winter ending 2004/05 was 51.3 inches, the highest in their entire record dating back into the 1800s. A new all-time single snowstorm record was set on February 17-18, 2003 with 27.6 inches and a new all-time seasonal snowfall record of 108 inches was set in 1995/96. Since 1992, Boston has recorded their 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 12th snowiest winters.


We are also told “The extent of NH snow cover has declined”. (IPCC4.2)

They go on to say it will decline so much as to endanger the winter sports industry. Well two years ago, Michael Berry, President of the National Ski Areas Association told the AP that “This could very well be the record year”. Across almost all of North America, 2007/08 was the best, or one of the best seasons ever for those who enjoy winter sports. Practically every ski area from Alaska across Canada in the Western U.S. - the Midwest and New England saw plenty of snow; many places reporting all-time record snow.


Alyeska, Alaska has picked up 826” of snow. Timberline in Oregon had 780” of snow. Alta Ski Area in Utah has had 673”, 8 Colorado ski resorts set new records that season. Snowmass, (450 inches), Beaver Creek (430 inches), Crested Butte (422 inches), Monarch Mountain (482 inches), Powderhorn (320 inches), Silverton (550 inches), Steamboat (489 inches) and Telluride (353 inches).


Caribou, Maine set an all-time snow record.

Madison Wisconsin shattered a record with 101.7 inches.  

In January 2008, a new record for snowcover was set for the hemisphere.

Last years records were wet again from Washington State to North Dakota.

February 2010 is likely to set a new record or be among the top snowiest Februarys in the hemisphere. We were in 4th place in 5th week of the year (in 31 years).

The snows extend to Dixie where records for 24 hours, single storm and maybe before all is said and done season will be set in places like Dallas.



410 AM CST FRI FEB 12 2010


...Snow Event One For The Record Books...


As of Midnight CST, DFW Airport had recorded 11.2 inches for the calendar day. This is the greatest calendar-day snowfall total on record for Dallas/Fort Worth. The previous record was 7.8 Inches on January 15, 1964 and January 14, 1917.


As of 4 AM...DFW Airport had recorded 12.5 Inches of snow in the prior 24 hours. This breaks the previous 24-Hour record for February...7.5 Inches On February 17, 1978 and February 25, 1924.


This brings the seasonal snowfall total To 15.7 Inches...which is the 2nd highest seasonal total on record for Dallas/Fort Worth behind just 1977-78. This is the snowiest winter in 32 seasons (since 1977-1978).



   1      17.6   1977-78

   2      15.7   2009-10*

   3      15.3   1963-64

   4      13.5   1923-24

   5      10.4   1976-77

   6        9.5   1909-10

   7        9.2   1916-17

   8        8.8   1947-48

   9        8.1   1937-38

   10       7.3   1965-66 and 1941-42

As the storm moved east, 8 inches fell in parts of MS not far from Jackson, 7 inches fell at Cooks Crossroads in AL, 4 inches of snow fell in Atlanta, GA with up to 6 to the southeast, 4 inches fell at Athens, GA and even 2 in Macon, GA and 3 inches fell in Charleston, SC with up to 7 inland. 1 inch fell at Jay in the northwest FL Panhandle. On February 12th, snow covered the ground in at least part of everyone of the 50 states.

68.1% of the United States was snowcovered as of February 13, just below the 69.7% peak on January 31. The increased snow in the Gulf was countered by less snow in the west central Plains and Intermountains.




As we said ironically the day NOAA announced they were planning a press conference to announce their new climate service, better ready to deal with global warming policy making.


This is reminiscent of the day in January 2000, when NOAA’s NWS had a press conference to state that they had just made operational a super-computer that should ensure they never again would miss another major storm.


The very next day a major nor’easter dumped heavy snow on all the eastern cities not forecast by their super computer and their models just 24 hour ahead.


That heralded the Gore effect, which is spreading.


By the way while they deal with mailbox burying snow in DC, Northern New England west to Michigan is seeing much below normal snows though it is cold. This is typical in El Ninos but the real driver for locking in the storm track so far south was the 5 standard deviation negative AO in December and again this month as we have reported in recent weekly stories. This forces cold air to middle latitudes feeding cold air into the southern El Nino storm track.



The IPCC and NOAA/EPA reports talked about the movement of the storm track to the north. This year we have had snow as far south as Miami and Naples Florida with snow in the Gulf States down to the panhandle. More freezes occurred in Florida, where the January cold set records for duration and did serious damage to the citrus (worst freeze damage since 1989).

They also stated the warming would be greatest in higher latitudes. Actually that would decrease the contrast in temperatures north to south, and thermal contrast is what feeds the mid-latitude storms. They should grow weaker not stronger and with warming and the jet stream retreating north not south, there should be less snow.Cooling is what produces clouds and precipitation. Oceans are the slowest to cool and they are providing moisture to help feed the suppressed storm tracks. The earth is cooling, the folks in the Mid-Atlantic and southeast will attest to that. No media spin to the contrary or data manipulation by NOAA, NASA can convince them otherwise.

As we have been saying the weather the last few years has behaved a lot like the late 1950s to late 1970s cold period. Indeed many of the records set this year broke records set in those decades. Those decades, the ocean and sun were similar modes.