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Where is the Snow?


December 16, 2011

By: Kelly Davis
SIA Director of Research

Seriously, where is the snow?  It’s mid-December and those of us east of the Mississippi are waiting impatiently for the weather to turn.  I have been wearing my pajamas inside-out, juggling acorns from David’s backyard, and doing snow dances daily but nothing seems to be working.  My local resort is asking “where is winter?” on their website as they announced that they had to cancel opening day plans this weekend because it hasn’t even stayed cold enough to make snow.  La Niña promised us another epic winter and I’m starting to feel a bit duped, but January is right around the corner and this winter might be worth the wait.

Last season a phenomenon known as “The Greenland Block” set itself up early and provided most of the U.S. with bone chilling cold and plenty of early season snow.  The Greenland Block is a very strong area of high pressure located over the country of Greenland.  The block does what you may think it does – it creates an atmospheric traffic jam that traps arctic air over Canada and much of the continental U.S. and prevents it from moving east.  So far this season, the Greenland Block” is non-existent leaving us with nothing more than short-lived cold spells for the remainder of December.  January could be a completely different story.

One of the many things I love about studying the weather is that nothing is certain and patterns can change in an instant.  The long term forecast for January through March is still chock full of snow for everyone.  La Niña will be with us all winter and snow will fall on the frustrated back east soon enough.  In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to wear your pajamas inside out, or to do a snow dance too and bring some much needed, much appreciated snowfall to the deprived.

If you love weather, stay tuned for another blog post about my favorite weather variable for the west coast known as “The Pineapple Express.”