During February, a large portion of the nation, including the West Coast, Central and Southern Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and much of the East Coast had temperatures near the period of record (1895-present) average. The northern tier of the country, mainly along the U.S.-Canadian border as well as the Gulf Coast were warmer than average. Below-average temperatures were anchored in the southwestern United States. A large portion of the West was drier than average while the East, particularly the Great Lakes region and Gulf Coast, were wetter than average. According to NOAA’s National Snow Analysis, at the beginning of February, 48.5 percent of the contiguous U.S. had snow on the ground — northern New England, along the crest of the Appalachians from New York to North Carolina, the Great Lakes, Northern Plains, and the high terrain of the West. By the end of the month, the snow cover total changed little, with 47.8 percent of the nation having snow on the ground — the Northeast, Appalachians, the western Great Lakes, the Northern and Central Plains, and much of mountainous West.
Northern hemisphere snow cover anomalies
U.S. February Snow Cover Extent Anomalies
Source: Rutgers Global Snow Lab
According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the monthly snow cover extent across the contiguous U.S. during February was approximately 1.3 million square miles, which was 143,000 square miles above the 1981–2010 average. During the month, the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic, as well as the Southwest, experienced below-average snow cover extent. Most of the Great Plains and Central and Northern Rockies experienced above-average snow cover. For the entire winter season (December 2012–February 2013), the contiguous U.S. experienced above-average snow cover extent at 1.3 million square miles, which was 127,000 square miles above the 1981–2010 average. This marked the 15th largest seasonal snow cover extent in the 1966–present period of record.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), snowpack across the western U.S. was mixed at the beginning of March. As of March 1st, above-normal snowpack was observed across the Pacific Northwest where snowpack totals were greater than 180 percent of normal in parts of the Cascades and Olympic Mountains. Near-normal snowpack was present for parts of the northern Rockies, Great Basin, and Arizona. Below-normal snowpack, approaching 50 percent of normal, was observed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and along the Front Range of the Rockies from Wyoming to New Mexico. In Alaska, near- to above-normal snowpack was reported for much of the state. Below-normal snowpack was observed along parts of the southern coast and northwestern areas, while the Alaskan panhandle had above-normal snowpack.