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Feb 12th, 2010

Snow on the Ground in 49 States


Snowfall covers 49 of 50 states (NBC Nightly News, Feb. 12, 2010) — More than two-thirds of the nation’s land mass has snow on the ground. The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel reports. (01:49)

February 12, 2009

Forget red and blue — color America white. There was snow on the ground in 49 states Friday. Hawaii was the holdout. …

More than two-thirds of the nation’s land mass had snow on the ground when the day dawned, and then it snowed ever so slightly in Florida to make it 49 states out of 50.

At the same time, those weird weather forces are turning Canada’s Winter Olympics into the bring-your-own-snow games. …

“I’m calling it the upside-down winter,” said David Robinson, head of the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey. …

Weather geeks turned their eyes to Hawaii. In that tropical paradise, where a ski club strangely exists, observers were looking closely at the islands’ mountain peaks to see if they could find a trace of white to make it a rare 50-for-50 states with snow.

Hawaii’s 13,800-foot Mauna Kea volcano, which often gets snow much of the year at its higher elevations, is the most likely place in the 50th state to have snow, but there “is nothing right now,” said research meteorologist Tiziana Cherubini at the Mauna Kea Weather Center. It has been a few weeks since there has been snow in the mountains, and none is in the forecast, ruining a perfect 50-for-50, she said.

The idea of 50 states with snow is so strange that the federal office that collects weather statistics doesn’t keep track of that number and can’t say whether it has ever happened. The office can’t even say whether 49 out of 50 has ever taken place before. …

As of early Friday morning, 67.1 percent of the U.S. had snow on the ground, with the average depth a healthy 8 inches. Normally, about 40 or 50 percent of the U.S. has snow cover this time of year, Robinson said.

It snowed for only 10 minutes in Century, Fla., just north of Pensacola, barely enough to scrape a few snowballs from the hood of a truck. …

This is after a month that saw the most snow cover for any December in North America in the 43 years that records have been kept. And then came January 2010, which ranked No. 8 among all months for North American snow cover, with more than 7.03 million square miles of white.

The all-time record is February 1978, with 7.31 million square miles. …

Sign of global warming?

The strange snowfall pattern is produced by the El Nino weather phenomenon and its Arctic counterpart, Robinson and Petersen said.

During moderate to strong El Ninos like the current one, more moisture is pumped into the subtropical jet stream across the South, increasing precipitation, Robinson said. Then there’s the Arctic Oscillation, the Northern cousin to El Nino, which shifts cold polar air south. That cold air can turn a rainstorm into a snowstorm.

A snowy winter doesn’t disprove — or prove — global warming, Petersen and Robinson said. This is weather, which is variable, not long-term climate, and there is a huge difference. …

Full story


My colleague, Richard Wielkiewicz, Ph.D., has written a book review of Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz’s new book, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy (W. W. Norton, 2010). The book describes the factors leading to the current Great Recession.

Freefall: A Stiglitz Primer

By Richard M. Wielkiewicz
February 23, 2010


Chicago School (Neoclassical, neoliberal, free market) Economics

The story begins with the Chicago school of economics. The essential belief of the Chicago School, “free market,” theory is that only a completely “free” market will reach full employment equilibrium and efficient resource allocation. It is the modern version of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. The invisible hand of supply and demand creates a perfect balance and every asset is fairly priced including labor. This means that restraints on the “free” market such as unions and government intervention must be eliminated in order for the “free” markets to work. …

Stiglitz Schools the Chicago School

In order for the free market theory of the Chicago School to function as predicted, it must be assumed that information in the economic system is perfect. Stiglitz showed that the Chicago School models did not work with even slight deviations from the assumption of perfect information. … Under these universal conditions, “market failures are pervasive” … which is exactly what we have just experienced with Chicago school economists in charge of the economy. …

Stiglitz’s “Five Failure Facts” that Account for the Freefall

Stiglitz describes five reasons why the financial system has failed so badly. …

Read the full review


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — February 12, 2009

Image: Aftermath of Kabul attacks
Afghan police officers secure an area in Kabul after attackers struck the justice ministry and prisons department. (Photo credit: Omar Sobhani / Reuters)

Mumbai-Like Strike in Kabul

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that in Afghanistan, Taliban militants killed 20 people in a coordinated attack on three government buildings in Kabul, while in Iraq, 16 people were killed and 45 wounded when twin car bombs exploded at a bus terminal and market area in southwestern Baghdad.

One Response to “49 U.S. States Reporting Snow”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq: Slaughter in Samarra Says:

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