49 states dusted with snow; Hawaii's the holdout
Forget red and blue — color America white. There was snow on the ground in 49 states Friday. Hawaii was the holdout.
It was the United States of Snow, thanks to an unusual combination of weather patterns that dusted the U.S., including the skyscrapers of Dallas, the peach trees of Atlanta and the Florida Panhandle, where hurricanes are more common than snowflakes.
More than two-thirds of the nation's land mass had snow on the ground when the day dawned yesterday, and then it snowed ever so slightly in Florida to make it 49 states out of 50.
At the same time, those weird weather forces are turning Canada's Winter Olympics into the bring-your-own-snow games... http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100213/ap_on_re_us/us_united_states_of_snow
...At least in Washington, where snow is now measured by the yardstick, more snow may be coming soon. It looks like a little more snow on Monday and maybe a lot more about a week or so after that.
"As long as this pattern persists we have potential for additional storms," said Dan Petersen, lead winter weather forecaster at the National Weather Service prediction center in Camp Springs, Md.
To count as snow cover, snow has to stick on the ground and be recorded at special stations at specific times when meteorologists check, Robinson said.
The strange snowfall pattern is produced by the El Nino weather phenomenon and its Arctic counterpart, Robinson and Petersen said.
During moderate to strong El Ninos like the current one, more moisture is pumped into the subtropical jet stream across the South, increasing precipitation, Robinson said. Then there's the Arctic Oscillation, the Northern cousin to El Nino, which shifts cold polar air south. That cold air can turn a rainstorm into a snowstorm.A snowy winter doesn't disprove — or prove — global warming, Petersen and Robinson said. This is weather, which is variable, not long-term climate, and there is a huge difference.
"This has nothing to do with long-term trends," Petersen said. "This is just a several-week period..."