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Snow whitens ground in 49 states

posted 2/13/2010 4:13:38 PM |
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tagged: weather, news, straddle, snow

Forget red and blue -- color America white.

There was snow on the ground in 49 states yesterday, with Hawaii the lone holdout.

It was the United States of Snow, thanks to an unusual combination of weather patterns that dusted the country, including the skyscrapers of Dallas, the peach trees of Atlanta and the Florida Panhandle.

More than two-thirds of the nation had snow on the ground when the day dawned, and then it snowed ever so slightly in Florida to make it 49 states out of 50.

At the same time, those weird-weather forces are turning Canada's Winter Olympics into the bring-your-own-snow games.

"I'm calling it the upside-down winter," said David Robinson, head of the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Snow paralyzed and fascinated the Deep South yesterday. Snowball fights broke out at the University of Southern Mississippi, snow delayed flights at Atlanta's airport, and Louisiana hardware stores ran out of snow supplies. But Portland, Maine, where snow is usually a given, had to cancel its winter festival for lack of it.

Weather geeks turned their eyes to Hawaii, where there is actually a ski club. Observers were watching the islands' mountain peaks, but nary a flake was found.

Hawaii's 13,800-foot Mauna Kea volcano, which often gets snow much of the year at its higher elevations, is the most likely place in the 50th state to have snow, but there "is nothing right now," said research meteorologist Tiziana Cherubini at the Mauna Kea Weather Center.

The idea of 50 states with snow is so strange that the federal office that collects weather statistics doesn't keep track of that number. The office can't even say whether 49 out of 50 has ever taken place before.

As of yesterday morning, 67.1 percent of the United States had snow on the ground, with the average depth 8 inches. Normally, about 40 percent or 50 percent of the country has snow cover this time of year, Robinson said.

This is after a month with the most snow cover for any December in North America in the 43 years that records have been kept. And then came January 2010, which ranked No. 8 among all months for North American snow cover, with more than 7.03 million square miles.

The all-time record is February 1978, with 7.31 million square miles. There is a chance this month could break that. It's also possible that this could be the week with the most snow cover on record, Robinson said.

Patrick Marsh, who is working on his doctorate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, has been trying to collect photos of snow on the ground in all 49 or 50 states. After his effort was publicized, he was flooded with photos and videos.

"It just shows that deep down inside all of us is a weather weenie, a weather fanatic," Marsh said.

By Seth Borenstein
The Columbus Dispatch

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post a comment!


Feb 13 @ 4:32PM  
Kinda unbelievable, but it is winter! We were supposed to have snow last night, but it didn't happen. Maybe tonight? Who knows. Hope you got the snow you were hoping for Straddle!

Feb 13 @ 4:34PM  
I'm still waiting for that big snowfall to hit this winter here, Murph.

Feb 13 @ 4:55PM  
OK SHAUN!!!!...thought everyone got snow...maybe you really live in Hawaii...

Feb 13 @ 5:01PM  
What about Texas ? I haven't seen any fucking snow !!!

Feb 13 @ 5:12PM  
Hawaii may get snow, when the next ice age comes say about 35,000/40,000 years from now! So, we have a little bit of time yet!


Feb 13 @ 5:53PM  
We may get more Monday night. Most of what fell last night here is gone now. I want a repeat of 1999 when we had snow on the ground for three straight weeks as we received 24 inches. Up where my mom lived back then they had 28 inches of snow back in '99. We used to get big snows in NC when I was a kid, but not so much for the last 20 years or so.(With a few exceptions) Stays too damn warm and all we get is cold rain.


Feb 13 @ 8:41PM  
It's supposed to snow here again tomorrow... earlier reports said we might have some accumlating amounts but I really don't see that.
A friend and I were going to try to go the casino in Cherokee today but the road we needed to take was closed all day.

I'm ready for spring!

Feb 13 @ 8:53PM  
Woo Hoo still no snow here...actually a very nice sunny day

Feb 13 @ 9:04PM  
We might get a dusting to an inch or two Monday or Tuesday. Other than that, it's going to be a quiet week as far as snow goes. But, we still have quite a bit left from that last storm, and the dogs are still enjoying it.

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Snow whitens ground in 49 states