National Snow & Ice - February 2003

Northeastern Snow Storm 2/16/03-2/17/03

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One of the largest snowstorms in many years brought paralyzing snow accumulations to the Northeast over the President's Day weekend (16th-17th February). The image to the left shows the snowfall totals for stations across the Northeast U.S for the 48 hours beginning at 7am (Eastern Standard Time) on the 16th until 7am on Tuesday 18th. Over 2 feet (61 cm) of snow fell in many locations (mainly on the 17th), with the major northeastern cities of Washington DC, New York City and Boston coming to a standstill while roads were cleared.
The infrared satellite image to the right shows the storm as it tracked across the northeastern states on the 17th. The National Weather Service 24-hour snow totals can be seen by clicking to several text files of station data for many locations across New England, New York and New England and the mid-Atlantic.
Colorized infrared satellite image of the storm system that dumped snow on the Northeast U.S. on February 16 & 17, 2003
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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 snow event on the 16th and 17th February 2003. Well over a foot (30.5 cm) of snow fell across almost the entire state of Massachusetts, and much of the rest of southern New England and New York. However, the storm covered in snow an area from Kentucky to Connecticut on the 16th and 17th and at least 10 deaths have been attributed to the storm (Reuters). Some of the largest accumulations from the President's Day Storm occurred in and around New York City with Central Park receiving 19.8 inches (50.3cm) from the storm. This makes February 2003 the fourth snowiest February in Central Park with the total so far (as of the 18th) standing at 26.1 inches (66.3 cm) for February 2003. This total is also nearing the snowiest month of all time which was March 1896 with 30.5 inches (77.5 cm). Boston received a remarkable 27.5 inches (69.9 cm) of snow - the largest snowfall total for any storm in the city since records began.
The storm left portions of the Southeast contending with ice and sleet instead of snow, and travel conditions were dangerous across large portions of the Carolinas and Georgia over the President's Day weekend. Airport delays across the entire eastern seaboard left thousands of travelers stranded over the Sunday 16th-Tuesday 18th period.

Other Snow information for February:

The image to the right shows the snow cover on February 24th 2003, after a large snowstorm (described below) left up 10-20 inches (25-50 cm) of snow over a large area of Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. Click on the image to the right for an animation of snowcover throughout the month of February.
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February 2003 was a snowy month for many locations especially in the eastern U.S. A series of winter storms brought snow to parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic through the month, with the President's Day storm of the 16th and 17th of February being by far the most notable for the month and season in the Northeast. Oklahoma and parts of Missouri and Kansas have seen much above average snow for February (see map to the left) and the winter season. The Ohio Valley has also had a snowier than average February. Western snowpacks have also received some more snow this month, though most areas still remain below average for the season.

As much as a foot of snow fell on parts of southern Missouri and southeastern Kansas (see map to the right) on Sunday 23rd of February. The same storm left as much as 10-20 inches (25-50 cm) of snow in northern Oklahoma causing a 75 car pile-up on Interstate 44 (AP). The seasonal total for Springfield, MO through the end of February 2003 was around 35 inches (89 cm). The average seasonal total up to the end of February is less than 17 inches (43 cm), placing 2003 as the 4th snowiest season so far for Springfield. See NOAA's National Weather Service Forecast Office web-page for Springfield, Missouri for further information on this and other storms for the region.
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Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Snow & Ice for February 2003, published online March 2003, retrieved on January 21, 2018 from