We have been posting statistics on our web page and sending out Public Information Statements on just how starkly different this winter has been compared with recent winters thus far. However, as much as statistics can say, sometimes a story can be told much clearer with a picture! The following images are snow cover maps across the United States from National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) showing just how little snow cover there is this year across the northern tier of states compared with December 16th back in 2009 and 2010.
Snow cover can often act to enhance and maintain cold air masses, so the lack of snow cover over our area and particularly upstream will actually work to lessen the intensity of cold air masses that do move into the area. That is not to say it can't get cold and even bitterly so, however if there were a more extensive snow pack (such as in 2010 and 2009) then the air masses moving into the area would be even colder still. The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a continuation of above average temperatures during the 6-10 day period, the 8-14 day period, as well as in their 30 day outlook for the month of January.