Portions of south central Nebraska have been covered by snow that has refused to melt since first arriving around the 6th of December. The exceptionally long duration of this continuous snowpack is unusual for south central Nebraska and the current streak of around 50 days of continuous snow cover is approaching records in several cities. In addition, many of these streaks are ongoing. However, it should be noted that the duration of snow cover in 1984 in Grand Island and Hastings will make it difficult to actually set the record. Nevertheless, the current streak of consecutive days with a snow depth of 2 inches or more in Hastings has already made it into 2nd place. Grand Island’s streak of consecutive days with a snow depth of at least 3 inches has also reached into 2nd place. In Kearney, the consecutive number of days with 1 inch of snow depth or greater is the 2nd longest streak, but the actual record of 90 days set in 1969 is unlikely to be broken.

There are a couple of factors that likely combined to keep the snow on the ground for such a long time. The obviously major factor is below normal temperatures in December and now through most of January. For instance, the average high temperatures in December across the Tri-Cities ranged from 3.3F to 5F below average. Sometimes averages can be deceiving as you could still have some warm days to melt snow and just enough really cold days to balance it out.  For instance two days around 10 degrees and one day around 60 would still average out below normal. However, in the case this year there really were not any notably warm days. For the right around 50 days that we have had this continuous snow cover, all three cities have failed to climb above 43F. In addition, in the last 50 days, at least 45 of those days have had highs in the 30s or lower. The second factor is likely the above normal precipitation and above normal snowfall during the month of December. Snowfall across the Tri-Cities ranged from 2.5 inches to 5.5 inches above normal during the month of December. The overall precipitation in December was more than two times what is normal. Rain and sleet fell on top of the snow and refroze making for an icy snowpack that has been more difficult to melt and get rid of than a light and fluffy snow. Snowfall for January has been near normal to below normal resulting in a steady decrease in snow depth and the end of the streak could be approaching if no new snow falls in the near future.

The following records for the Tri-Cities are for consecutive days with a snow depth of 3 inches or greater.

GRAND ISLAND HASTINGS KEARNEY
Consecutive Days Consecutive Days Consecutive Days
Snow Depth >= 3.0 inches Snow Depth >= 3.0 inches Snow Depth >= 3.0 inches
Years: 1900-2008 Years: 1898-2007 Years: 1901-2008
     
Rank  # Days   End Date Rank  # Days   End Date Rank  # Days   End Date
  1     60    1/25/1984   1     63    1/28/1984   1     60    3/17/1969
  2     49    1/26/2008 (Ongoing Streak)   2     41    2/ 9/1932   2     28    1/15/1969
  3     49    2/22/1979   3     38    1/20/1974   3     27    1/ 6/2008 (No Longer Ongoing)
  4     49    2/10/1949   4     32    1/ 8/2008 (No Longer Ongoing)   4     22    2/28/1978
  5     46    2/14/1940   5     25    2/ 2/1993   5     22    2/22/1905
  6     44    1/27/1975   6     24    2/17/2004   6     20    2/20/1979
  7     44    2/22/1905   7    24    3/ 7/1993   7     20    1/ 3/1975
  8     41    1/28/1974   8     23    2/ 8/1956   8     17    2/18/2004
  9     36    3/26/1960   9     22    2/28/1978   9     15   12/13/2005
 10     33    3/11/1978  10     20    1/15/1988  10    15   11/25/2000
     
End Date is the last day of the run. End Date is the last day of the run. End Date is the last day of the run.
2008 Current Streak of >=3" is ongoing Snow Depth in Hastings fell to 2" on the 9th Snow Depth in Kearney fell to 2" on the 7th

The following records for the Tri-Cities are for consecutive days with a snow depth of 2 inches or greater.

GRAND ISLAND HASTINGS KEARNEY
Consecutive Days Consecutive Days Consecutive Days
Snow Depth >= 2.0 inches Snow Depth >= 2.0 inches Snow Depth >= 2.0 inches
Years: 1900-2008 Years: 1898-2007 Years: 1901-2008
     
Rank  # Days   End Date Rank  # Days   End Date Rank  # Days   End Date
  1     87    2/26/1979   1     64    1/29/1984   1     89    3/17/1969
  2     63    1/28/1984   2     51    1/26/2008 (Ongoing Streak)   2     34    1/11/2008 (No Longer Ongoing)
  3     61    2/21/1949   3     42    1/24/1974   3     32    3/10/1978
  4     53    2/ 4/1974   4     42    2/10/1932   4     24   12/21/2005
  5     53    2/ 9/1969   5     32    2/ 9/1993   5     24    2/18/2004
  6     51    1/26/2008 (Ongoing Streak)   6     31    3/ 9/1978   6     23    2/23/1905
  7     48    2/16/1940   7     26    3/ 8/1993   7     21    2/21/1979
  8     47    1/30/1975   8     26    3/24/1958   8     21    1/ 3/1975
  9     45    2/23/1905   9     25    2/18/2004   9     17   11/27/2000
 10    36    3/26/1960  10    24    2/ 9/1956  10    16    2/26/1980
     
End Date is the last day of the run. End Date is the last day of the run. End Date is the last day of the run.
2008 Current Streak of >=2" is ongoing 2008 Current Streak of >=2" is ongoing Snow Depth in Kearney fell to 1" on the 12th

The following records for the Tri-Cities are for consecutive days with a snow depth of 1 inch or greater.

GRAND ISLAND HASTINGS KEARNEY 4 NE (254335)
Consecutive Days Consecutive Days Consecutive Days
Snow Depth >= 1.0 inches Snow Depth >= 1.0 inches Snow Depth >= 1.0 inches
Years: 1900-2008 Years: 1898-2007 Years: 1901-2008
     
Rank  # Days   End Date Rank  # Days   End Date Rank  # Days   End Date
  1    102    3/ 7/1979   1     67    1/31/1984   1     90    3/18/1969
  2     89    3/17/1969   2     61    3/ 9/1993   2     51    1/26/2008 (Ongoing Streak)
  3     75    2/27/1975   3     51    1/26/2008 (Ongoing Streak)   3     39    3/ 8/2001
  4     63    1/28/1984   4     46    1/28/1974   4     32    3/10/1978
  5     62    2/22/1949   5     43    2/17/1955   5     28    3/ 9/1980
  6     59    3/ 8/1993   6     42    2/10/1932   6     27   12/ 7/2000
  7     58    2/ 9/1974   7     41    2/17/1985   7     25    2/19/2004
  8     58    2/26/1940   8     39    2/20/2001   8     24   12/21/2005
  9     51    1/26/2008 (Ongoing Streak)   9     32    3/10/1978   9     24    1/ 3/2001
 10    46    3/26/1960  10    30    1/21/1970  10    24    2/24/1979
     
End Date is the last day of the run. End Date is the last day of the run. End Date is the last day of the run.
2008 Current Streak of >=1" is ongoing 2008 Current Streak of >=1" is ongoing 2008 Current Streak of >=1" is ongoing

This story was composed by Jeremy Wesely on Thursday January 26th, 2008


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