NOAA

There’s scarcely any powder in the Lower 48 outside of the high mountains.

If you want an indication of how abnormally warm it is in the U.S., look down. Chances are you don’t see any white stuff, because the country is suffering from a major deficit in snow.

In fact, snow cover is the lowest it’s been in modern records for a mid-November, according to NOAA. The agency, which produced the above graphic, writes:

The map on the left shows average snow cover from 1981 to 2010 for the second week of November. (Data: NCEI) The image on the right shows the current amount of snow cover as of November 14, 2016. (Data: National Ice Center) [Ed: On the historical-average map, dark blue is 100 percent snow cover, white is 0.1 percent, and light blue somewhere in between.]

How unusual is this? National snow analyses have been compiled by NOAA's National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center since 2003 and, during that time, never have the first two weeks of November shown such small amounts of snow.

So what’s a snow lover to do? As these maps indicate, if you can’t wait to see what the rest of the winter has in store and need to see some of that white stuff now, you’ll have to visit the high peaks of the Cascade Mountains, the Rockies, and the Sierra.

Here’s another snow-cover map for November 15 that’s nearly devoid of snow:

NOAA

The situation might change this week as a “significantwinter storm is predicted to hit the Rockies, Great Lakes, and Midwest. But still, if some politician uses the opportunity to make a snowball, or igloo, or something else to mock global warming, don’t forget 2016 will almost certainly go down as the hottest year in known history.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Videos

    5 Ways to Seriously Battle Traffic

    So long as cars are among us, road pricing, ramp meters, and diamond-shaped intersections can mitigate horrendous commutes, a new video explains.

  2. The Salk Institute, near San Diego
    Design

    This Is Your Brain on Architecture

    In her new book, Sarah Williams Goldhagen presents scientific evidence for why some buildings delight us and others—too many of them—disappoint.

  3. Transportation

    Do Driverless Cars Need Their Own Roads Around Manhattan?

    A concept for AV expressways promises to reduce travel times, but falls into an old trap of car-centric planning.

  4. An empty storefront on a sidewalk with a "retail space for lease" sign in the window
    Life

    How Cities Can Save Small Shops

    Some places are already taking action, but New York City is lagging behind. Here’s a blueprint for keeping local retail healthy.

  5. Transportation

    5 Reasons to Be Wary of Elon Musk's Hyperloop

    High-speed vactrains might be the ticket for a Martian colony. As a practical transit investment for Earth, the technology has a long way to go.