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'Stubborn' weather puts snowfall levels well above the average: Environment Canada

To date, 304 cm of snow has fallen since November, 100 cm more than expected
winter cold
Winter has pummelled Greater Sudbury with snow, with levels well above the average, says Environment Canada. (File)

The bad news is, February is already on track to be well above the normal snowfall. All you have to do is peek outside to know that, though.

The good news is, there's no significant weather activity in the immediate forecast that will add to the already abundant snowbanks scourging the city, said Marie-Eve Giguere, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“The weather pattern this year has been stubborn,” Giguere said Friday. 

The storms formed in the Rocky Mountains around Colorado this year, and the jet streams picked them up and brought them across Ontario, pretty much on the same trajectory across the province every time, Giguere said. Northern Ontario was mostly at the centre of the storms.

As of 8 a.m. Friday morning, Greater Sudbury has had 304 cm of snow fall, with the average at the end of February being 205 cm.

For the month of November, 64 centimetres of snow fell, while the average for that month in Greater Sudbury is 30 cm, meaning Greater Sudbury received more than twice the average snowfall for November. 

December saw a more average amount of snowfall in Greater Sudbury at 63 cm, which is the norm for that month. 

In January, 101 cm of snow blanketed the city, with the average being 60 cm. The majority of it came in the last few days of the month.

This month, 76 cm of snow has already fallen as of 8 a.m. Feb. 15. The average for this month is 52 cm. The snow-on-ground amounts are also very interesting, Giguere said. 

The back-to-back-to-back snow storms pummeling the area recently, combined with the extreme cold snap in January, means the snow isn't melting or sublimating.

Right now, the thickness of snow in the ground is 94 cm; the average number is 37 cm, she said.

The record for snow on ground at the end of February is 119 cm, set in 1974. However, on March 20, 1963, the snow on ground was measured at 145 cm, which likely came after a major snowstorm, Giguere said.

The lowest the snow-on-ground level has been in February so far is 60 cm. The last time there was less than 30 cm of snow on the ground was Jan. 22, when the amount of snow on the ground measured 29 cm, but that's the lowest it has been since at least December.

“The snow is not going anywhere, but it's the same in much of Northern Ontario and into Quebec and west to New Brunswick, she said.

“Some years, we get a lot of snow, with melts in between, but this year it just continues to pile up. We've been above the average since the end of January, or the start of the stubborn weather pattern.”

The good news is there is no big system in the forecast for next week, she said.

“It's going to be quiet weather wise, but it's going to be colder than normal.”

With the sun shining, and a lack of wind, it will be perfect for sublimation, which turns snow into water vapour, going from its solid state directly into its gaseous state, skipping the liquid stage altogether.

“It's not really melting, but you will see the thickness of the snow decrease as a result,” she said.


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Arron Pickard

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