West coast freezes, but much of North Americans left coats in closet
That famous line from Wendy’s commercials, ‘Where’s the Beef’, could have easily been interchanged with ‘Where’s the snow’ forNorth Americans this past winter?
For many, this was the winter that wasn’t, especially when most people compared it to the heavy snowfalls and Siberian temperatures that were experienced in the past two years. Stubbornly higher than average temperatures and low snowfall accumulations seemed to be the norm for most places east of the Rockies this year.
While spring equinox is only three weeks away, meteorologists define winter as the months of December, January and February.
In the heart of winter, in January, only 15% of the United States was snow covered and barely more of that in Canada compared with more than 60% over the previous two years. The US National Weather Service says that this past year, has seen the least amount of coverage since it began keeping count in 2003.
One of the explanations for the tepid snowfalls is the polar jet stream, which normally brings frigid air down through the central United States, remained solidly north of the border in Western Canada this year.
The change of cycle this year brought records of snowfall in both the US and Canadian Rockies with plenty of powder. By contrast, from Jan. 1 to March 5th, 3,854 daily record-high temperatures were reported as opposed to 294 daily record lows for the same period.
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