Where Is All the Snow Going?

Nathan Jones, Journalist

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The past couple winters in Western Pennsylvania have been quite disappointing for all the snow lovers, in terms of temperature and snowfall.  With the exception of a 2014, most winters have been quite moderate and mild with only short periods of cold temperatures with minimal snowfall.

What is to blame for this? A chart shows from 1981 to 2010 the Pittsburgh area had gotten plenty of snow to for fill anyone’s desire. In our main winter months, December through February, we averaged 8- 12 inches per month every year.  For the other months there was still snow but averaged 4 inches and below. As well as the big amounts of snowfall received in these years the snow also stayed for over 15 days in the main winter months. As for earlier or later winter months snow only stays for an average of 5 days.

Within these charted years ski resorts are also on the up rise. Due to the high amounts of snow made and it ability to stay for over 15 days in the three-main winter months’ snow resorts, in Western Pennsylvania especially, have saved tons of money due to the snow they don’t have to make.

Now coming to the past 5 or 6 years or so all the snow in Western Pennsylvania seems to be vanishing. After a blizzard in February of 2010, with a monstrous amount of snow that fell to a total of 21.6 inches recorded at the Pittsburgh International Airport and all that snow stayed for several weeks, winters here have seemed bland and mostly just a rainy season. Temperatures still drop below freezing and snow still falls to the ground, but not as often or as it should.

The temperature and snowfall statistics have completely dropped. Both temperature and snow have dropped so much compared to past years leaving our winter season shorter than ever before. Some years the first snowfall wasn’t until the end of December and the last was in the end of February. For example, in the middle of winter, for the whole month of February of 2012 the Pittsburgh International Airport recorded only 4 inches of snow. Meanwhile 2 years earlier we had over 20 inches. Granite no one can expect another snowfall like that, but going from 20 plus inches to 4 inches. Even in February of 2011 the Pittsburgh International Airport measured an average of 9 inches. Then in 2013 only 3 inches was measured throughout February. With the exceptions of ’14 and ’15 with 9 inches and 7 inches we had two good snowfalls in the last 6 years.

The ski resorts and snow attractions, these sort of tourist attractions have been in a bit of trouble. They have been relying more on making snow to cover the slopes rather than the natural snow to do its work. Though it doesn’t stop them from opening it just makes the work load a lot more for them to do and also spending money on it to. The lack of snow doesn’t just kill one’s winter fantasies but also business.

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Where Is All the Snow Going?