Winter 2011-2012: Snowfall Frequency

We are more than halfway through winter and nearing three weeks with at least some snow on the ground.  Some of you may think that it’s been long enough.  That’s understandable considering the slow start to winter, the above average temperatures, and below average precipitation we’ve been experiencing.  Just how frequently has it snowed in Rockford?  The answer may seem surprising.

I dug through the climatology records and found that from December 1 through January 30, there have only been 4 snowfall events where greater than 1″ of snow accumulated.  The first came on December 17 with 1.6″ and the latest (and most significant) occurred on January 20 with 5.1″ falling at Chicago Rockford International Airport.  Combined with the other two events that occurred in mid-January, a total of 12.9″ fell from just these 4 events.

This season there have been only 5 snowfall events where less than 1″ of snow accumulated in Rockford.  The very first event, ironically, occurred on the first day of meteorological winter (December 1), leading some to believe that we’d be in store for a snowy month.  The most recent events just occurred last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (January 27-29) with 0.4″, 0.1″, and 0.2″ respectively.  These five events only accumulated a total of 1.2″ of snow.  Additionally there have been about a dozen ‘Trace’ amount days, with precipitation too insignificant to count.

The statistician in me finds these next facts to be pretty interesting.  There have been only 9 days out of 61 so far this winter where snow accumulated.  This means that only 15% of winter days have had snow.  Furthermore, 4 out of those 9 days that had snowfall amounts greater than 1″ accounted for 92% (or 12.9″) of this season’s grand total to date (14.1″)!  Talk about few and far between!  -JA

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, snow, weather, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on January 30, 2012

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