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. Monte

    Guest, your statement that Global warming means:
    "The ozone layer is depleting, therefore:
    – Heat going up in summer gradually
    – Cold going downwards in winter gradually"

    Guest apparently you do not understand the scientific principle that Hot travels to Cold... High Temperature moves to Low Temperature and NOT the other way around.

    Global warming is just that... Global Warming... so in fact the winters are hotter and the summer is hotter because there is no ozone layer to protect the earth from the sun's heat.

    The whole fear about Global warming is that the iced continent of Antarctica is MELTING and meanwhile the sea levels are rising threatening the existence of cities at sea level such as New York.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dee

    January 12, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • A

      This guy is one of my youtube subscriptions. He is very good!!

      January 12, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Michel Bertoux

    I did not that Hawai is 51st state in USA....
    snow in 49 of 50 states, only Florida does not have !!!

    January 12, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dr. Lecter, Ph D.

    Sarah Palin admitted that she had placed the Northeast in the crosshairs and incited Dick Cheney to activate the Haliburton Weather Machine to cover us with snow. The howling masses are gathering to condemn her for that.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Charles

    Warm air holds more moisture. This hits the usual cold air and turns to snow. These snowfalls actually reinforce that there is warming. How else would we be getting these moisture-heavy low pressure systems coming from the Atlantic?

    January 12, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. CKarel

    "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."

    Last February there was snow in all fifty states. Took me about thirty seconds to find that information online:

    Great reporting!

    January 12, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. VWwife

    If you are coming to FL for warm weather you had best go ALLLLL they way down!!! N FL was 31 last night & is hitting 22 & lower tonight! If we have to put up with this much cold it might as well snow!

    January 12, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Qwerty

      Yep. It sucks up there. You are in the wrong end of the state.

      January 12, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. chickas

    Those that are reading the Bilble but no science books are disagreeing with global warmingn those who are rading science books but not the Bible agree with global warming. Look nack through the comments. Why is all the harsh words and name calling only coming from the global warming believers?? Truth stands on its own. Despaation needs force, and name calling. Intersting to watch it all pan out as you speak.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Qwerty

      Did you ever think about going back to school?

      January 12, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. VWwife

    Yes- snow even in Hawaii!
    Hawaii even got some as Hawaii News Now said snow fell on the Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island. It's common for Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea to get snow all winter.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Qwerty

      Thank you. The masses can not seem to understand this. I have been to Hawaii and on that volcano and has its own weather. It is quite a neat island: you can leave the coast (which is in the 70s to 80s) and within a day you can see desert, rain forest, snow, torrential rain and be back to the beautiful tropical coast before the sun sets.

      In addition, it can snow from time to time on Haleakala (Maui).

      January 12, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. ponderosa

    Interesting photo sort of gives us an idea of what North America could look like all year round if not for all of the protective green house gasses we have generated. Now do your duty and go for a drive.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. Xasthur

    If everyone would eat more beans and fart more this wouldn't happen.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Qwerty

    You are pathetic... but I bet you have the nicest trailer in the whole park!

    January 12, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • jujubeans

      ha ha ha that's very funny, ma'am.

      January 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Melanie

    Headline correction? Unless Hawaii has snow (which, while I'm not sure of, I kind of doubt it), it should read "48 of the 50 states".

    January 12, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Marge

      Read the article. It snows atop the volcanic peaks year round.

      January 12, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Hockey Fan

      The headline is correct. Reading comprehension correction, perhaps?

      January 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Marge

    Nice warm state? In Florida? My thermometer, in the shade, says it's 48 and we're by the space center. Warm my a$$.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dale

    I cannot wait until the spring when people start complaining about all the flooding caused by all this global warming snow.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
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