Take that Van­cou­ver: Ev­ery U.S. state has snow ex­cept Hawaii

Cape Breton Post - - OUR COMMUNITY - BY SETH BOREN­STEIN

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

Who’s the Great White North now?

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

Snow par­a­lyzed and fas­ci­nated the Deep South on Fri­day. Snow­ball fights broke out at South­ern Mis­sis­sippi Uni­ver­sity, snow de­layed flights at the busy At­lanta air­port, and Louisiana hard­ware stores ran out of snow sup­plies. An­dalu­sia, Ala., shut down its streets be­cause of snow. And yet, Port­land, Maine, where snow is usu­ally a given, had to can­cel its win­ter fes­ti­val for lack of the stuff.

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.

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.

Snow ex­perts at the Global Snow Lab were comb­ing their records but said it may be days be­fore they find out if there has ever been a 50-for-50 snow day. Their best sus­pect — Jan. 19, 1977 — had snow in Florida, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, Alabama and Ge­or­gia, but then Robin­son looked for snow in South Carolina and couldn’t find any.

As of early Fri­day morn­ing, 67.1 per cent of the U.S. had snow on the ground, with the av­er­age depth a healthy 8 inches. Nor­mally, about 40 or 50 per cent 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. But that was enough for 6-year-old Kaleb Pace.

“I’ve only ever seen snow on TV till now,” Kaleb said, smil­ing.

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. There is a chance this Fe­bru­ary could break that.

Stay tuned. The weather pat­tern is in a snow rut. At least in Wash­ing­ton, where snow is now mea­sured by the yard­stick, more snow may be com­ing soon. It looks like a lit­tle more snow on Mon­day and maybe a lot more about a week or so af­ter that.

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