This page has snow depth data for the winter of 2009-2010 at sites around New England and New York. Data for previous years are available:
A summary of several years is on the homepage.
The type of snow also has differing impacts. A foot of dry, fluffy snow will compress quickly with time (or with more snow) whereas an equal depth of wet snow presents more challenges to driving, shoveling, compression and melting.
Snow Depth Days makes a better measure of impact a winter's snows. The depth days for a whole winter are simply the sum of the snow depth on the ground for each day of the winter. Storms that start with snow and change to rain count for less than storms that are all snow.
Two major blizzards in Massachusetts show the importance of the depth day metric. If you experienced both the Blizzard of '78 and the April Fool's Blizzard of '97, the 1978 storm wins hands down despite surprisingly similar snow distributions. The key differences were the winds (1978 saw major coastal destruction), the weight of the snow (1997 took a heavier toll on tree limbs), and how long the snow remained. Massachusetts was shut down for a week in 1978, but the 1997 snow melted in days. 1997's storm brought far fewer depth days. On, Jan 20, 1978 a storm left 22" of snow in Boston, a January record and 24 hour record. While a rain storm on Jan 26 melted most of the snow in Boston, snowbanks were still on the sides of the streets and sidewalks when the second storm hit on Feb 6th setting new 24 hour (23.6") and total storm records (27.5"). Boston and much of the rest of state simply had no place to put the new snow. Those were the bulk of the snow that year, it would be fun to go back to the climatic records and compute the depth days for each month in 1978 and 1997.
Storms on that southern track often reached the Atlantic, headed north, and then steered to the left into mainland Canada. That brought them a fair amount of snow and brought us some warmer weather - from the north east!
The southern storm track did bring several snow storms to New York to Atlanta, and on Feb 12, a graduate student, Patrick T. Marsh, decided to try to collect photographs of snow from all 50 states. For a while he thought Hawaii was snow-free, but folks at the observatory poked around the north flank and found a couple patches.
Our first snow was on December 5th, kicking off snow cover from the 5th through to February 28th. December had peak snow on the ground of about 8". January started out cold, but the second half was warmer. We did get a a sub-zero low on the 30th, so the winter ws cold enough. February had generally warming temperatures throughout. One large coastal storm brought hurricane force winds to New Hampshire and took out power for some 30% of the state. The last day I recorded snow on the ground was Feb 28.
|Poland Spring ME||0.1||0||19.5||156||30.2||308||9.7||73||0.7||3|
|Mt. Mansfield VT||8||22||4.5||49||38.3||738||42.3||1556||46.1||1916||5||2701||34||1557||0||701|
|Poland Spring ME||60.2||540||9.0|
|Mt. Mansfield VT||178.2||9240||51.9|
|Dennis Bollea||Fairhaven MA|
|A Cadoret||Woonsocket RI|
|Wayne Cotterly||Poland Spring ME|
|Paul Hansen||Marlboro MA|
|Jim Hilt||Bow NH|
|Chris Seeber||Charlestown RI|
|Paul Venditti||Pepperell MA|
|Ric Werme||Penacook NH|
I think depth days is a great statistic, and I'm surprised that it is catching on slowly outside of the NE Weather Spotters mail list. I never expected that the NWS would embrace it quickly, but I had hoped that TV meteorologists would start using it, in monthly summaries, if nothing else. It would be nice if ski areas would use it, but they may not wish to if they are not likely to be #1 consistantly. (And if only one area reports depth days, it would not be a good comparative statistic.) The University of Vermont has graphs of snow depths at Stowe through many seasons.
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