How much snow do we have and when will it leave?

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Photo courtesy Sherry Longo

One look out your window and you’re probably wondering just how much snow do we have on the ground and more importantly, when will it melt away?

The Canadian groundhogs predicted an early Spring and the furry rodents just might be on to something- well, maybe. The long range forecast through March and April do look promising if you’re craving warmer days and melting snowpack. Now, you’re likely saying, “the weather forecasters never get it right, but if you recall, the forecasters actually got it quite right the last few years. Last winter was extremely mild in both temperatures and snowfall – something that was predicted and the same can be said for this year, as it was forecast to be “an old fashion Canadian winter – and it certainly has been.

The long range forecast through March and April do look promising if you’re craving warmer days and melting snowpack. Now, you’re likely saying, “the weather forecasters never get it right, but if you recall, the forecasters actually got it quite right the last few years. Last winter was extremely mild in both temperatures and snowfall – something that was predicted and the same can be said for this year, as it was forecast to be “an old fashion Canadian winter – and it certainly has been.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the estimated depth of snow on the ground currently as of Saturday February 11 is approximately 40 inches or about 101cm which is actually lower than the record amount of snow recorded on the ground for this date back in 1971 when the Sault had 107cm on the ground.  The average snowfall for the Sault according to Environment Canada is 302cm annually from October through April . The snow is typically at its deepest on February 10, with a median depth of 33.9 cm; the depth exceeds 40.9 cm only one year out of ten, this being one of those years. On average the lat accumulating snowfall sits around April 7.

So, statistically speaking the worst of the winter is over. Now, when can we expect it to leave?

On average, Sault Ste. Marie’s snowpack normally is gone by the second week of April – with the exception of piles of snow in parking lots.  Last year was abnormally early, the Sault’s snowfall that year was gone by mid-March, though it came back at the beginning of April with 20cm and it stuck around until mid April.

This year, if conditions are right, you can expect the snow to be gone by mid to late April, but there are many variables that could change that. We need more than just plus temperatures, we need lots of sun and little wind to get rid of the snow and the long range forecast does indicate that.  The rest of February will see normal temperatures of about -2 to -5c during the day and there’s still several chances of accumulating snow.

March will begin somewhat snowy and cool but we will see more sun and the sun’s warmth begins to get stronger with each day. With ideal conditions, that being sunny days and temperatures around 5c , it’s very likely we could see about 10cm of snow melt each day. Even with temperatures below freezing but lots of sun, the melt can continue like roof tops and roadways. Rain can also factor in for a quick melt. The amount of moisture in the air can accelerate the melting process, while wind will carry away the moisture and preserve the snow pack.

By the second to third week of March temperatures move into the plus side and stay there for the most part. Things really get warm for the month of April as temperatures are expected to bump into double pluses early in the month.

With that said and based on averages, it appears (at this point) the snowpack will be completely gone by April 20th. The huge snowbanks and mountains may take a little longer.

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Craig Huckerby
Craig Huckerby is a seasoned broadcast and media professional with over 35 years in local media. Starting in television, Craig became known as "the weather guy" on local television before pioneering internet media in the Sault. Craig is credited for bringing local television back to the Sault via the internet in 2003 with LTVNEWS.COM and was instrumental in launching SooNews.ca and Local2.ca. Craig is happy to be part of the Sault's newest media team and website, SaultOnline.com

3 COMMENTS

  1. maybe a proofread?

    The long range forecast through March and April do look promising if you’re craving warmer days and melting snowpack. Now, you’re likely saying, “the weather forecasters never get it right, but if you recall, the forecasters actually got it quite right the last few years. Last winter was extremely mild in both temperatures and snowfall – something that was predicted and the same can be said for this year, as it was forecast to be “an old fashion Canadian winter – and it certainly has been.

    Insert ad here

    The long range forecast through March and April do look promising if you’re craving warmer days and melting snowpack. Now, you’re likely saying, “the weather forecasters never get it right, but if you recall, the forecasters actually got it quite right the last few years. Last winter was extremely mild in both temperatures and snowfall – something that was predicted and the same can be said for this year, as it was forecast to be “an old fashion Canadian winter – and it certainly has been.

  2. Quit teasing us Craig !!! I think we all hope your 4cast is correct. Spring…to me…is when the city water truck cleans all the sand off of my street.

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