National Snow & Ice - January 2003


NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.

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The image to the left shows the percent of average seasonal snow fall for stations across the continental U.S. Many of the stations were more than 25% below average across much the West and Midwest. Stations in the east received a greater percentage of their seasonal snow fall as of February 6th, however, even in the east, percentages of 50-75 percent of the long-term mean were common. The tracks of several winter storms are visible, (from paths of stations registering above average seasonal totals), such as a swath from northeastern Oklahoma through Missouri and Illinois to Indiana. Some higher than average percentages can also be found in the Carolinas where a storm system dumped up to 10 inches (25.4 cm) of snow across parts of North Carolina in January (more details below).
The image to the right shows the snow cover on January 23rd 2003, after a large snowstorm (described below) left up to 10 inches (25.4 cm) of snow over a large area of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Click on the image to the right for an animation of snowcover throughout the month of January.
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The image to the left from NOAA's National Weather Service Northeast River Forecast Center shows snowfall totals in the Northeast for the first week of January 2003. Well over a foot (30.5 cm) of snow fell across almost the entire state of Massachusetts, and much of the rest of New England and New York. The snow was accompanied by sustained winds in excess of 30 mph (48.3 kph) in some coastal locations, with gusts reaching above 40 mph (64.4 kph). Some of the mountain towns in Massachusetts, such as Ashfield, Goshen, and Worthington had one and a half to two feet (46-61 cm) of snow on the 3rd and 4th. Further snow interrupted traffic and caused numerous problems in upstate New York over the weekend of the 11th and 12th of January. Over 50 inches (4 feet / 122 cm) of snow fell in parts of Osceola and Lewis counties - the result of cold air-amplified lake-effect snow from Lake Ontario.

A winter storm brought significant accumulations of snow to parts of the U.S. Deep South, including the Carolinas, on the 23rd. Snowfall accumulations of 4 to 12 inches (10-30 cm) were common across areas of western and central North Carolina, as well as the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks usually escapes heavy snow due to the warm insulating water of the Atlantic Ocean around Cape Hatteras. Some of the heaviest snow fell between Forest City and Morganton in western North Carolina exceeding the area's seasonal snowfall totals in just a few hours according NOAA's National Weather Service Office in Greenville-Spartanburg, SC.
Colorized infrared satellite image of the storm system that dumped snow on the U.S. Deep South on January 23, 2003
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Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Snow & Ice for January 2003, published online February 2003, retrieved on September 2, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/snow/2003/1.