Not an Inch to be Found

Fargo Moorhead has yet to record an inch of snow from any one single event.  On January 8, 2015 the official observer in north Moorhead reported 0.9 inches from an event and there were a couple of similar events in November, but yet, the magical one inch event still has not occurred.  Since good snow records began in the winter of 1889-1890,  Fargo Moorhead has only made it past December 31 without at least one 1 inch snow event three times.   The first such event was during the winter of 1913-1914 when the first measured 1 inch event occurred on January 22, 1914 when 1.4 inches of snow was measured.  It was not until the winter of 1943-1944 that the first inch event again occurred after the new year when no snow event reached or exceeded 1 inch until January 27, 1944 when 4.1 inches was measured.  The third such occurrence is this winter (2014-2015) where to this writing on January 16, 2015 all single snow events have been measured at 0.9 inches or less.

There will be an continuation of weak Alberta Clipper events in the coming days, with one arriving tomorrow.  Although it appears because of warmer temperatures aloft (a mix of rain, sleet and snow) may occur tomorrow any accumulating snow will probably stay under 1 inch.  Other events in the next week also look weak, but the requirement for 1 inch of snow can be as little as just 0.02 or 0.03 inches liquid to create an inch of snow.  But clearly getting into second place or competing for that record is not out of the question, it will just be a matter of what falls in north Moorhead on any given event as even a mile or two can mean the difference between several tenths of an inch of snow.

In any case, it has been a historic snow season so far for lack of at least one inch or higher snow events but on the basis for snow totals, the 6.9 inches measured through January 15 would rank as the 13th lowest snow total to this point.  In fact, the winter of 2011-2012 through January 15, only 5.0 inches of snow had been measured through the middle of January.  Plus there has been 32 years, about one out of every four winters that less than ten inches of snow has been measured to this point.  The higher snow totals from the 1990s into the 2000s has tended to skew our memories a bit, but historically, this area has recorded numerous years with “open winters”, it is just that brown winters like this season has been the exception rather than the rule in recently, but historically, low snow totals happened fairly frequently.

If you are curious. during the winter of 1996-1997, 66.3 inches of snow had already been measured through January 15.

Daryl Ritchison