How MUCH of a Snow Drought Have We Seen This Winter?

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We’re STILL Printing Snow News is Good News Hoodies and they will be at the Summit!

I don’t usually piggy-back on any stories that our team posts, however, Joe Stevens of “Snow News is Good News” just submitted his latest column that addresses the “snow drought” that we are experiencing at least so far this season. Kind of a “Snow News is Not So Good News”…

Joe and I are industry connected and that is mostly likely why we seem to have the same thoughts, almost at the same times, throughout a season. Events occur and those trigger thoughts about what we should comment on to our readers – and Joe and I are frequently on the same ‘wavelength’.

Literally yesterday I was thinking about this current ‘snow drought’. Our own staff Meteorologist, Brad Panovich has shared several graphs on the snow drought with his Charlotte, North Carolina audience on television at WCNC NewsChannel 36 via his Twitter, Instagram and his own BLOG – and of course LIVE on television.

As I said before, Joe and I think alike at times and my thoughts on Saturday focused more on the fact that we are in ANYTHING BUT a drought this winter. I have previously shared how much rainfall we’ve had this winter. In case some of you missed those numbers, our ski mountains have seen anywhere from 15″ to OVER 20” of precipitation this winter and MOST of the precip has been in the form of rain.

Hence the “snow drought”.

Thanks to Joe Stevens and Meteorologist Brandon Butcher of WSAZ-TV in Charleston, West Virginia for putting a “face” on the snow-drought and precisely where the snow-drought is being experienced. (Warning: this graphic may be painful for those of us who love snow.)

All I can say is “ouch”.

If God himself could/would ‘ball up’ a snow-drought ball to toss it down to earth, it could not have been more perfectly ‘thrown’ to land across the region that perfectly places a blanket on the Southeast and mid-Atlantic ski resorts.

Just prior to this season I remember several meteorologists predicting “equal chances” of it being snowier than normal – or not – and so far we’re really suffering from the “not side”.

How Much of a Snow-Drought Are We In?

The most accurate way I share the answer to that without literally burning a day on NWS and NOAA charts is to quickly share the following:

The normal ski season these days is loosely determined to be from Thanksgiving Day (or weekend) through the end of March. That provides (124) days of “ski and snowboarding season”. Around here in “SkiSoutheast-land” we tend to work more like 150+/- days, but let’s just say all but a resort or two will USUALLY crank up ski and snowboarding operations around Turkey Day.

Using those (124) days as a “ski season”, we are currently on day (80) of the season. Another way to look at it is that we have now gone through 64.5% of the season. (Think positively though, as we STILL have another 35.5% of the season left to (hopefully) enjoy. So, cheer up a bit as we still have over a third of the season remaining.

However, using the 64.5% number – that we’ve gone through, let’s now look at how much snow has fallen at each resort AND compare that with where we should be in terms of natural snowfall.

Resort Normal Snow Thru’ Today Snow this Season %OFF
Appalachian 32.5″ 6″ – 82%
Beech Mountain 51.6″ 31.5″ – 49%
Bryce 19.4″ 14″ – 28%
Canaan Valley 116.1″ 65.8″ – 43%
Cataloochee 25.8″ 17″ – 34%
Massanutten 22.5″ 5″ – 78%
Ober Gatlinburg 22.5″ 12″ – 47%
Sapphire 19.4″ 4″ – 79%
Snowshoe 116.1″ 56″ – 52%
Sugar Mountain (actual) 50.2″ 27.5″ – 46%
Sugar Mountain (reported) 50.2″ 44.2″ – 12% *
Omni Homestead 32.3″ 5.7″ – 82%
Wintergreen 22″ 11″ – 50%
Winterplace 64.5″ 20″ – 69%
Wisp 86″ 42″ – 53%
Wolf Ridge 42″ 14″ – 67%

* I could NOT help myself, but this is further proof that Sugar has been grossly over-reporting natural snowfall all season as THEIR reported number would mean that magically they would only be in a minuscule snow-drought compared to everyone else and only 6″ under normal for this time of year, when all other ski areas are 20″-30″ off and more.

So, yea, we are in the midst of a snow-drought. The (hopeful) good news  is that we still have MORE than a third of the season left and some of our largest snow events ever have come in late February and March.

Fingers crossed. Do your snow dances out there! (I still have my billboard requests to God in place.)

There’s hope, right?

Feel free to email me at [email protected] 

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