January 1 2017 – Happy New Year! A the calendar changes so does our hope for real winter to begin in the Mid Atlantic region. If you have Faith in the Flakes, now is the time to revive it as history shows us most of our winter snow begins on January. This past December Baltimore’s BWI only had a trace of snow. That actually occurred three times, on the 6th, 17th, and 30th. I was surprised how many people were messaging me saying we were not going to have snow this winter. But how could we forget last year with the blowtorch December followed by our biggest storm on record? That will not always be the case, and the global pattern is different now. What is surprising is that we start this year with 37.7% of the US under snow cover. Last year was 53.7%, and yet look at how that winter turned out.
The history below shows that lack of December snow can be deceiving and does NOT represent the rest of winter. FITF
Compare to last January 1 snow cover
Note this is a snapshot of the day and does not represent all the snow that fell (and some melted) during December 2015
Trace of snow in December and the seasonal total:
Only a trace of snow for the entire month of December has happened 21 times since 1883. Tow that stand out are 1965 and last year, 2015. Both were strong El Nino years. The 1956 season ended up measuring 32.8 inches at BWI. Last year had the record warmed December and was followed by Baltimore’s largest snowfall on record with 29.2″ snow in January and a 35.1″ seasonal total. Both were more than 50% above average!
If we consider the long term average of 21 inches of snow and the bench mark of 18 inches for a season as ‘near normal’, then 11 out of 20 seasons have ended close to or above average despite a trace of snow in December.