Snow present in 49 of the 50 U.S. states
January 11th, 2011
04:38 PM ET

Snow present in 49 of the 50 U.S. states

After big snow and ice events in the Southeast, Plains, and Midwest this week, 49 out of the 50 states currently have snow on the ground –  yes, even Hawaii, where snow falls in Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea all winter. 

The only state that has avoided this icy blast is Florida.  Does that make you want to go on a nice, warm vacation to the Sunshine State?  You're not alone.

Put another way, that means snow is present in 69.4 percent of the lower 48, which is more than double than December.  This is extremely unusual, though it's hard to put a date on when this last happened because records aren't kept on this kind of event.

The National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center combines ground reports and images from satellites in space to determine how much of the country is covered in snow.  That's what you see in the image above.  The images tell how deep and widespread the snow is, and that's important not only for images like this one, but also for computer weather models, which use the data to generate accurate forecasts. Such forecasts were very useful in predicting this week's winter storms.

Earlier this week, two storms began to churn: one in the northern Plains and Midwest, and one in Texas.  The southern winter storm took a track across the Gulf Coast, pulling warm, moist air over an extreme arctic blast that set up over the eastern half of the United States late last week.  This provided fuel for the storm to carve a path of snow, sleet, and freezing rain from Texas to the Carolinas. 

Here in Atlanta, we're still coated in snow and ice and probably will be for the next couple of days.  No one in the Southeast escaped the wrath except, of course, Florida.

But it's not over.  Now that the southern-track storm has moved into the Atlantic and is moving north, the other Midwest storm is going to merge with it, creating a Nor'easter event that could dump up to two feet of snow in the Northeast.  Winter storm warnings and advisories have been posted for the event - 32 states have winter storm advisories issued, by the way.

Here's how the snow forecast breaks down for some major cities:

Washington DC: 2-4 inches
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 4-6 inches
New York, N.Y.: 6-12 inches
Hartford, Connecticut: 15-20 inches
Boston, Massachusetts: 12-16 inches

The snow and cold started early this winter and has been extreme for most of the country.  Usually the Southeast avoids the blast, but not in 2011.  We're all feeling a little "snowed in" this winter.

soundoff (695 Responses)
  1. Nathan

    I live in Florida, so this has the opposite reaction on me. Everyone wants to move out of the cold weather and come to Florida. I wanna get out here and experience real cold weather! I mean, really... it's unfair that everybody gets some and we Floridians don't. I WANT SNOW!!

    January 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Will S

    As every idiot knows, global warming is (1) about how hot the summer gets, not how cold the winter is, (2) the variability of climate extremes, and (3) the distribution of global circulation patterns. How much below 0C (32F) it doesn't really matter, ice won't melt. Every idiot that actually bothered to read the IPCC report at least.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. botanylady

    Check out the Union of Concerned Scientists report on how "ExxonMobil has adopted the tobacco industry's disinformation tactics, as well as some of the same organizations and personnel, to cloud the scientific understanding of climate change and delay action on the issue. According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science." Who do you choose to believe, the majority of climate scientists who have spent years studying the issue or large corporations (i.e. oil, gas, coal) who choose to lose too many$$ What will happen if we ignore the scientists, everything they predict comes true, but it's finally to late to do anything about it?

    January 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. nik green

    Snow? Folks, its winter. By the way, 2010 was the 2nd warmest globally since records began... but don't let a few facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory by the world's meteorologists and climatologists, without any motivation....!

    January 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. dabreeze

    what about the other 7 states??
    any snow there??

    January 31, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • 57 or 58?

      You forgot about the "one left to go"......

      February 11, 2011 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. maryquitecontrary

    I want to know when will news reporters and the weather advisors ask the question WHY are we having this weird weather patterns? All there is coverage of another winter storm forecasts, impacts from the winter storms, and lessons on how to better respond to the next storm [which comes every 2-3 days]. So that covers what, where, when, and how from the famous reporter questions one's ask.

    When will someone start asking why is this all happening? Is it b/c the water that melted from the glaciers and ice bergs entered into the water cycle now comes back as falling precipitation during all upcoming seasons? Is it a natural geological cycle heading towards another ice age? Or could it be a consequence of climate change (not just global warming) that we don't want to face?

    February 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Peter E

      You can actually just ask the National Weather Service. They have already put out a release months ago that the ocean temperature oscillation has suddenly shifted from last year's El Nino conditions to La Nina conditions. You can look up what La Nina does.
      Whether the sudden shift itself, or the magnitude of it is related to other factors, such as climate change, has not yet been established. (because climate is long term average conditions, it is only over the span of several years that we see the statistically significant trends, even if a single winter cannot specifically be linked to the factor)

      February 2, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Peter E

    People are so simple minded... 'it snows here therefore things must be cooling down all over the world.' A) The USA land area covers only a very small fraction of the entire world. B) At the same time we are having a huge hurricane hitting Australia. Hurricanes don't form over cold water, they form over warm water. Clearly it is not cooling down everywhere. C) Increased precipitation (regardless of it being rain or snow) is a sign of warmer waters, not colder ones. Where do you think all that precipitation came from in the first place? It came from increased water evaporation elsewhere. If you have trouble figuring how this works look up the lake effect. D) The rainiest parts of the globe are the equatorial rainforests. And while we associate rain with cold, surely we don't consider rainforests a cold climate, do we?

    February 2, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cory P

      Great post. I love when people have common sense.

      February 4, 2011 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Kel

      While I agree with most everything you are saying, I would like to point out that it's not cooling down in Australia right now because it is the middle of summer there, so the waters will be warmer. Also, the equatorial rainforests get the most sunlight out of any other place in the planet. This causes two things: water evaporation (as you said) and low pressure systems. The low pressure causes atmospheric lift, lifting the parcipitation into the air, cooling it down forming clouds and rain. The high amounts of rain in that part of the planet are caused by the direct sunlight that those areas get year around. Not disagreeing with you, simply answer the questions.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. america

    it's funny to see how angry people get when their eyes are opened for a second by someone else... they start getting out of context LMAO

    February 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Victor

    Well, it looks like the snow was very close to Florida!

    February 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. chele

    So what's a little bit of snow?Big deal. You'll all live!

    February 10, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. ki432b

    Is it snowing on Al Gore? ...how inconvenient.

    February 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. alec

    What a coincidence! I live in Tampa,FL

    December 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sanjana

    People keep thinking Florida is nice and cozy but trust me .....ya haven't heard from a Floridan

    January 17, 2014 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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