National Snow & Ice - February 2009
The two satellite-derived images above show the daily snow cover across North America (left map) and the Northern Hemisphere (right map) throughout February 2009. The maps help illustrate the snow coverage expanding and contracting across the U.S. As a result of snowfall from a mid-month snowstorm, about 45 percent of the contiguous U.S. was covered by snow on February 15, according to an analysis by the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center. By the end of the month, the snow coverage had decreased to about 33 percent of the contiguous U.S.February 2009 had the 16th biggest February snow cover area for North America in the 43-year satellite record.
February started with an arctic air mass settling over the eastern half of the U.S. , affecting areas as far south as Florida where the citrus crops escaped major damage, but the tomato farmers experienced a greater loss. It was reported that in the tomato growing regions of southwest Florida, the air was cold enough for a more than enough time to inflict pockets of damage. Further to the north, the combination of the cold air and precipitation melded into a winter storm . Snow fell in the Great Lakes Region as well as along the southern Appalachian mountains. Approximately 60 daily snowfall records were broken on the fourth.
As the ridge began to build up in along the east coast, storms began to barrage the west coast. Typical of the wet season along the west coast, strong winter storms inundated Washington, Oregon, and California throughout the month. Unfortunately, snowpack levels were still below normal in the Sierra Nevada.
On February 26, a significant late winter storm affected areas from the Dakotas eastward into the great lakes region. Snow was accompanied with blustery winds which created dangerously low wind chill values and blizzard like conditions. The National Weather Service forecasted some thunder to occur along with the heavy snow. The storm was caused by a low pressure system that had deepened as it moved northeast into northern Illinois.