If it seems like it has been a while since we’ve had this many days with snow on the ground, you are correct. Today marks the 11th day in a row with at least 1” of snow or more on the ground at our climate reporting station. The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport climate site reported a snow depth of 2″ today. Measurable snow has been reported every day so far this month.
This is by no means a record. In order to break into the 10th longest stretch, we’d need to have 44 days with 1″+ on the ground, as we saw Jan. 5, 2011 – Feb. 17, 2011. If we were to get to the number one spot, we’d have to have 1″+ on the ground for 73 days. That happened the winter of 1944-1945 when 1″ or greater was reported on the ground from Dec. 11, 1944 – Feb. 21, 1945.
So we’d have quite a ways to go to set any major records. However, this is the longest stretch of days with snow on the ground in the last few winters. The longest stretch of consecutive days with 1” or more of snow reported on the ground in the winter season 2019-2020 was eight days, from Jan. 17 to Jan. 24, 2020. To find a stretch of consecutive days longer than the current streak, you have to go back to the winter season 2018-2019. For 25 days in 2019, spanning Jan. 10 – Feb. 3, a 1” or greater snow depth was reported at the airport in Trumbull County.
Can we beat that 25 day streak this winter?
In order to tie or break that stretch, we’d have to keep the snow on the ground for two more weeks. That would take us to Feb. 25. It is looking like a guarantee that we extend the stretch by several more days, likely at least another week. Current data shows little chance of a prolonged period of temperatures above the freezing mark of 32° in the near-term forecast. Highs Friday will be close to it but after Friday, which may eat away at some of what’s out there. After Friday, the next chance at temps near freezing comes Tuesday but it is looking like a large storm is going to add to the depth rather than drastically deplete it. However, that storm may provide some rain or a wintry mix that could reduce totals in spots. We continue to monitor that system but, as of today, the more likely scenario is we will add to the snow depth.
You can get some aid at depleting the snow through prolonged periods of sun but even that is looking like a challenge. While the warmth and energy from the sun can heat surfaces, especially dark surfaces, it isn’t looking like any prolonged period of sun will occur the next several days. The pattern remains quite stormy, which promotes more clouds than sun. Further, it would be a challenge to make a significant dent in the snow with temperatures remaining below freezing.
So it is looking like a roughly 80% chance of at least 5-7 more days of 1” or greater snowpack. As we head into the weekend of Feb. 20-21, the current trend is for temperatures to remain below average. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center keeps the region at a 50% chance of below average temperatures for the timeframe of Feb. 18-24. It is important to note that the average high is above freezing now. The average high for today is 35° and by the 18th -24th, it jumps to 37°-38°, 5°-6° above freezing. This means even if highs were to go a few degrees above 32° degrees, aiding in snow melting, it would still be below average. Further, a snowpack on the ground can help promote cold nights which can drop the averages for an entire day, even if daytime highs near the averages.
So it is possible to make a run at that 25 day stretch. The further we go into the month, the more challenging it becomes on average as the normal daytime highs continue to rise. But the pattern we are in promotes colder than average temperatures to continue through the middle of the month, which will help try to keep the blanket of snow on the ground. However, the likelihood of seeing warm days continues to increase as we approach the end of February. So if you love the snow, enjoy it while we have it! If you’ve had enough and hate the winter, hang in there as warmer days aren’t too far off — Spring is now just 37 days away!