2/3rds of country with snow on the groundJanuary 2nd, 2013 at 3:40 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Click on the images to enlarge. First on the left is the snowcover map from NOHRSC. They say that as of the morning of Jan. 1, 66.6% of the Lower 48 states had a snow cover. The average snow depth in the Lower 48 states was 5.9″. This is the most snow on the ground in the Lower 48 on New Year’s Day since at least 1996 (as far back as we could check). In the last 10 years, only 2010 with 61% snow cover comes close, with the next highest 46.7% in 2008. Last year on New Year’s Day, we had only a 19.8% snow cover with an average depth of 1.6″. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 66.6% is the highest we get this winter. Not much snow in our forecast, the models print out a half inch to an inch with the Weds. Night/Thursday system. The European model takes our temperatures back to the upper 30s early next week, so what little snow we have may not last. The storm tracks remain well north and south of our area. The GFS hints at colder air around 1/12, but there are mixed signals for getting anything more than a quick shot of Arctic air.
Also, the current solar cycle has been very week (note the diminishing trend in the graph on the right). This from Joe D’Aleo: “The highest solar 11-month running mean was last February after a burst in late 2011. The mean has declined since and December was the quietest in 10 months. The rise from the minimum of 3.25 years is unusually short even for a quiet sun and many believe another second higher max or comparable peak may follow in 2013 but still at levels roughly half that of the last cycle and down 75% from the prior two cycles.” Also: A Shell oil rig has run aground near Kodiak, Alaska. This occurred during a fierce storm with 70-knot wind gusts and waves up to 50-feet high! Here’s an interesting way to dispose of your Christmas Tree. And…can you solve the riddle? (send the blog link to a friend and see if they can solve it).
Also, we’ve had just 65 minutes of sunshine in the past 8 days in G.R. We had 18% of possible sun in December. December is usually our cloudiest month and it’s the month with the shortest amount of daylight…but this December was even cloudier than usual. Snow cover Weds. AM: 1″ Grand Rapids, Ionia, Rockford, Hastings, Muskegon, Alma…2″ Lansing, Big Rapids, S. Bend…3″ Hart…4″ Baldwin, Fort Wayne…5″ Houghton Lake…7″ Lake City, 10″ Newberry and S. Ste Marie, 11″ Gaylord, 13″ Marquette and Grand Marais. Here’s the snowcam from Twin Lakes.