National Snow & Ice - October 2014


NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.


During October, warmer-than-average conditions dominated much of the country, with a corresponding lack of large-scale snow events. However, some snow was observed in portions of the Northern Rockies, Upper Midwest, and northern New England. According to NOAA's National Snow Analysis, at the beginning of October, 0.6 percent of the contiguous U.S. (CONUS) had snow on the ground; this area included the highest elevations of the Rockies and parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Monthly snow cover peaked on October 28th with 2.8 percent of the CONUS having snow on the ground. By the 31st, 1.1 percent of the CONUS was snow covered, including parts of the Northern Rockies, Cascades, and far northern reaches of the Upper Midwest.

Northern hemisphere snow cover anomalies
U.S. October 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 CONUS during October was 43,000 square miles. This was 29,000 square square miles below the 1981-2010 average and ranked as the 23rd largest (25th smallest) in the 47-year satellite record. The October CONUS snow cover extent can vary greatly, with the smallest on record being no snow cover (1977 and 1988) to the largest on record being 212,000 square miles (2009). During October 2014, below-average snow cover was observed across much of the High Plains, while above-average snow cover was observed in parts of the Northern Rockies and far northern New England. The Alaska October snow cover extent was 420,000 square miles, 68,000 square miles above average and the ninth largest on record. Above-average snow cover was observed across most of the state, especially across central Alaska. Below-average snow cover was observed in western parts of the state.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Snow & Ice for October 2014, published online November 2014, retrieved on November 28, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/snow.