Snow Drought kicks off winter 2011-2012

Snow has been hard to come by so far this winter.  No reporting sites in central or southeast Illinois have reported an inch or more of snowfall through Christmas.  This is in stark contrast to recent Decembers which which started off active snow seasons.  Precipitation has actually been above normal for the past several weeks, but mild airmasses have allowed almost everything to fall in liquid form.  Maps from the State Climatologist Office highlight how wet, but snow-free, this December has been compared to normal.


A review of the climate record shows it has been several years since most locations in central Illinois went this late into winter without seeing much in the way of accumulating snow.  The table below shows the most recent year without a 1" or greater snow event in November or December for selected cities that have yet to get 1" in 2011.

 City  Year
 Decatur  2009 (January 14)
 Lincoln  1995 (January 6)
 Normal  1995 (January 1)
 Peoria  2002 (January 5)
 Springfield  1995 (January 6)

While uncommon to see this little snow, we have to go much deeper into winter to get into "snow-less" record territory.  Data below shows the latest ever recorded 1" or greater snowfall.

 City  Date
 Decatur  February 25 (2002)
 Lincoln  February 22 (1950)
 Normal  January 31 (1980)
 Peoria  January 30 (1980)
 Springfield  March 20 (1983)










We are not alone as the NOHRSC snow depth map shows.  Much of the country away from mountains or the Great Lakes had no snowcover by late December.

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