Historic November snowstorm: precursor to winter? Braun | Reuters

A Caltrans snowplow clears Highway 88 in Woodford, California November 24, 2015, as a winter storm hits the drought-stricken state. REUTERS/James Glover II

 

The Midwestern United States got pummeled with a historic early-season snowstorm over the past weekend, leaving many to wonder if the precedent for winter 2015/16 has been set.

The storm moved quickly across the region from Nov. 20 to 22, setting various snowfall records from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Detroit, Michigan (tmsnrt.rs/1R5dbei).

The average first snow can be expected anywhere from mid-October through early December across most of the Midwest, making the timing of this first widespread snowfall relatively normal. However, the intensity was anything but normal.

The hardest-hit areas were northern Iowa, northern Illinois, and southern Michigan, where local snow totals were as high as 18 inches (45.72 cm). On average, these areas expect to receive only 1-2 inches of snow during the entire month of November (tmsnrt.rs/1R5ffCO).

The numbers were quite astounding in Chicago, the most populous metropolitan area within the impact zone. The two-day snow totals were the second-largest for a November snowstorm since 1884.

Following the 11.2 inches of snow observed at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, the city’s official observation site, a whopping 30 percent of average annual snowfall is already accounted for. For recording purposes, the snowfall season is considered to be from July through June.

Midwesterners hardly have anything to complain about given how incredibly warm this autumn has been, but the first snowfall usually resigns people to the fact that winter has arrived and is here to stay. But that may not necessarily be true.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?

via Historic November snowstorm: precursor to winter? Braun | Reuters.

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