National Snow & Ice - January 2008

The two satellite-derived images above show the daily snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere (left map) and North America (right map) throughout January 2008. By clicking on the images, the gradual expansion of sea ice across parts of the north Atlantic and portions of the Great Lakes can be seen throughout the month as well as multiple snowstorms across eastern Europe, Iran, Mongolia, China, and the United States during January. 54 deaths were blamed on heavy snowstorms in China during the last few weeks of January, many from a bus crash on an icy road on January 29. Hundreds of thousands of workers were stranded at bus and railway stations due to delays from the icy weather, unable to return home for the Chinese New Year. On January 30, a rare snowstorm swept across the Middle East, blanketing many parts of the Holy Land with several inches of snow. Amman, Jordan received a foot (30.5 cm) of snow, closing some roads, and many parts of Lebanon experienced disruptions in their power supplies.

The second day of 2008 brought snow to areas of Indiana, Ohio and the Appalachians through the Northeastern United States. Parts of New England received the heaviest amounts, with some areas receiving storm totals of over 15 inches (38 cm) in several areas of central and eastern Maine. On morning of January 11, Iraqis in Baghdad woke up to the novelty of falling snowflakes as the city experienced its first snowfall in about 100 years.

The map to the left depicts the satellite-derived accumulated snow depth on January 20, 2008, illustrating a heavy snow cover in the Rockies, Cascades, and Sierra Nevadas in the western U.S., and light to moderate snow cover over much of the northern half of the country. Light snow can also be seen in many parts of the Southeast, including a narrow swath from Southern Mississippi to Alabama and Georgia, widening across North Carolina and Virginia up through new England.

The snowpack levels in much of the Rocky Mountains were near or above normal at the end of January, 2008. Due to several large weather systems that moved onto the West coast during the month, some snowpack levels in many parts of the Cascades and Sierra Nevadas are at levels over 160% of normal at the end of January. Many parts of southwestern Colorado, southern Utah, and Arizona also had over 150% of normal snow water equivalent, although much of Wyoming and parts of Montana had levels below 70% of normal.

More information on January severe winter weather can also be found on NCDC's Hazards page.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Snow & Ice for January 2008, published online February 2008, retrieved on January 16, 2018 from