National Snow & Ice - November 2008

The two satellite-derived images above show the daily snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere (right map) and North America (left map) throughout November 2008. The maps show little to no snow cover at the beginning of the month, but by the end of the month the snow cover extended into the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains as well as eastward into the Plains and Appalachians. The snow events that occurred in the Plains and Northeast are visible in the time loop.

The month of November brought several winter storms to the contiguous U.S. The first significant storm dumped snow across the northern Plains states on November 5-6. This early November blizzard forced more than 100 businesses and schools to close in portions of western South Dakota. Winds gusts were clocked at 78 mph (126 km/h) and were accompanied by snow that fell at a rate of 3 inches (8 cm) per hour. Total accumulations of 3-4 feet (91-122 cm) were reported with drifts of up to 20 feet (610 cm). The storm stranded hundreds of motorist and transit officials were forced to shutdown I-90 near the Wyoming state line.

A daily snowfall record of 9.5 inches (24 cm) fell in Alta, Utah on November 4 followed by another daily record of 30 inches (76 cm) fell on November 5. The early November snowfall in the mountains of Utah allowed for the ski resorts to open early, almost two weeks ahead of schedule. One resort reported that this was their second earliest opening day in 38 years. To view additional records for the month, please visit NCDC's U.S. Records page.

This season's first lake effect snow events occurred in Pennsylvania and New York during November 9-10. Snow totals from Lake Ontario topped out at 14 inches and totals from Lake Erie reached 11 inches. The season's second lake effect snow event occurred one week later and was more wide spread. In New York, maximum snowfall totals were off of Lake Erie where Ellicottville and South Dayton saw 30 inches and off of Lake Ontario where West Leyden and Constableville saw 28 and 27 inches, respectively.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Snow & Ice for November 2008, published online December 2008, retrieved on October 21, 2018 from