Another Snow Drought? by Matt Ferguson
As we all know this has NOT been a true Virginia winter! For many of us snow lovers, up until last weekend it had been a real bummer of a season!
The main reason we have not gotten a lot of wintry precipitation is pretty easy to answer: it's just been too mild. In addition to the mild conditions, our weather pattern has for the most part not been conducive for Virginia snowstorms. We need storms to ride along the Gulf Coast then up the East Coast to give us good snowstorm potential. Instead this year we've seen mostly all the storm systems move in off the Pacific Ocean then move straight across the country and into our region. This fast moving jet stream from west to east, driving the storms, has held the cold in Canada for the majority of the winter.
Last weekend was an exception, and many of you who love snow got your wish! We had just enough cold air moving in while at the same time a storm arrived from the Gulf Coast states with plenty of moisture. The official snow totals ranged from 3 inches in Danville to 7.7 inches here in Lynchburg. Across the region totals closed in on 10 inches in spots (especially in the mountains.)
While we finally got a major snowstorm, this season is likely to go into the record book as another SNOW DROUGHT year, like what we had last year also. Blacksburg has gotten the most snow from the official reporting stations out of our viewing area. So far this year they have received 8.8 inches of snow, but look at the yearly average (23 inches.) Right now Blacksburg has over a 14 inch snow deficit. Here in Lynchburg the only measurable snow of the winter at the airport was last Sunday (2/19,) but usually each year we have 17.2". That puts us in a 9.5 inch snowfall drought.
We have had major snowstorms during the month of March. Anyone remember the Super Storm of 1993? If not, Lynchburg picked up 13 inches of snow. While major snows can happen up through early spring, our chances go down with each passing day. And like last year, this year is likely to go into the record book as another snow drought winter. But remember three winters ago we had snowfall surpluses, with three major snowstorms and a seasonal total of 34 inches in Lynchburg. Therefore, when it comes to Old Man Winter, you never know for sure what it will bring!