National Snow & Ice - December 2002

snow coverAnimated Image

The image to the left shows the snow cover on December 6th 2002, after an early snowfall (described below) left several inches of snow over a large swath from Oklahoma to the Northeast. Click on the image to the left for an animation of snowcover throughout the month of December.
Radar animation of the storm system that affected the eastern US with snow, ice and rain during December 4-5, 2002
Radar Animation
Courtesy UCAR
An early season winter storm brought damaging ice accumulations to the Carolinas with significant accumulations of snow across the lower Ohio Valley, southern Appalachians and into the Northeast. During December 4-5, an expansive shield of snow and ice encompassed much of the eastern U.S., from the lower Ohio Valley, southern Appalachians and into the Northeast. Snow accumulations of 4-8 inches(10-20 cm) were common along the northern edge of the precipitation shield, while a significant accrual of glaze occurred in the Carolinas. The storm caused at least 17 fatalities, mostly from traffic accidents (CNN).

After skies cleared on the 6th, enhanced satellite imagery depicted the extensive area of fresh snow cover, extending from the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, eastward into the lower Ohio Valley.

A major winter storm affected much of the eastern United States during December 23-25, 2002. Significant accumulations of snow were reported from the Texas panhandle, through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and northern Arkansas during the 23rd-24th, causing 12 deaths (Associated Press). Springfield, MO reported 33cm (13 inches) of snow, or 52 cm (20.5 inches) for the month, for a new December snowfall record. Snow spread eastward from parts of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast on Christmas Day, with some locations experiencing the snowiest Christmas Day ever recorded.
snow image
Larger image

See NCDC's snow monitoring page for the latest snow totals and the snow climatology pages for snow statistics for U.S.states and stations. The weekly hazards page also includes information on U.S. weather events.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Snow & Ice for December 2002, published online January 2003, retrieved on January 17, 2018 from