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. TallyChick

    Florida may not have snow but it's cold here (for Floridian standards of course!). Curently 35 degrees here in the Big Bend area at 11:00am but it feels so much colder with the wind. Projected low 20s tonight! Almost wish we would get at least a little bit snow if it's going to be this cold. Good luck to all those up north buried in snow though!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. Juan

    Too funny!

    The people who accuse this of being wrong because the map is bent...Its a map of earth in a circular shape, thats exactly how Earth looks from space. Please call your parents and yell at them for not pushing you enough to go to college.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rebecca Lynn

    I realize there is snow on the higher mountains in Hawaii, but shouldn't that still say 48 states......?

    January 12, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Hockey Fan

      Why? The snow doesn't count in Hawaii? Or maybe Alaskan snow doesn't count, because a lot of it never melts? Or maybe it's the snow in Kansas, or Connecticut, or Ohio that doesn't count?

      January 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GBush

    Climate change is real, and so is god.
    I spoke to god yesterday in fact, and he told me himself that climate change is real.
    He also told me the world is 6,000 years old.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rebecca Lynn

    I realize that there is snow on the mountains in Hawaii, however I think that should have said the 47 out of 48 or 48 out of 50. I know it's still balmy in Hawaii and of course there is snow in Alaska, duh!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • dash

      Rebecca, that still doesn't make sense. There is snow on the mountains IN Hawaii. Hawaii is a state. There are 50 states in the U.S. If Florida is the only state without snow on the ground, then there is snow in 49 of 50 states.

      I think you have confused the 50 states with the 48 contiguous states – it's okay, it happens to a lot of people.

      January 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. A Southern Woman

    Southern Style: Please stop.
    I was born, raised, and still live in the South. I am an educated, open-minded and successful woman who would like to change people's opinions on what the South can "produce," and Southern Style, YOU ARE NOT HELPING. Please kindly Shut Up!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. frank

    Kind of gives evidence that much of the "global warming" scare is so much dung.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. RON

    IF 47 OF THE LOWER 48 HAVE SNOW THAT WOULD BE 97.9% NOT 69%.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Hockey Fan

      "snow is present in 69.4 percent of the lower 48" – not that 47 of the 48 states equals 69.4% of the entire U.S. In other words, 69.4% of the entire country (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) is covered in snow.

      January 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kate Capote

    I go for smart chicks like val kilmer types always do. Ya know what I mean? Guess so. Bye Bye Birdie. Ann Margaret.

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

    I'm visiting florida right now I'm in Mary Esther which is in the pan-handle by Destin, Okaloosa Island, and Fort Walton Beach and it is freezing out I think it's cold enough. If only it would percipitate.

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

    "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." – A quick Google will show that its not that hard to put a date on after all. In fact, CNN itself reported this same vent last year, 49 of 50 states, only it was Hawaii that had no snow last year, and Florida did.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. flunka

    diane u are wrong the world is not getting ready to end god only knows.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. mike

    unless it snowed in hawaii it's actually 48 of 50 states or 47 of the 48 contiguous states...

    January 12, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. thhhhhhhhhh

    sucks to live in florida!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    I don't see any snow in Florida, so unless hawaii got snow too, it should say "48 out of 50 states".

    January 12, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Hockey Fan

      The article specifically says that Hawaii has snow.

      January 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
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