More on the Great Snowstorm of April 19-21, 1901

Below is an except from the Ohio Monthly Weather Review for the month of April 1901, discussing the great snow storm:

The Snow Storm of April 19th – 21st

The great snow storm of April 19th to 21st, inclusive, will long be remembered by the inhabitants of the eastern part of Ohio as a record breaker for a storm occurring that late in the season. The most severe part was limited in extent almost entirely to the east portion of the State, and the dividing line between the two areas of very heavy and of moderate snowfall was quite marked. This line, extending southerly from Lorain County, passed east of Columbus; at this point it took a southwesterly course to the eastern part of Brown County. Along the southeastern border of Ohio there was, however, a narrow strip over which the precipitation, although as heavy as in adjacent districts, was mostly in the form of rain.

High winds produced drifts that were five to ten feet high, making roads impassable and putting railroad traffic almost at a standstill. The voluntary observer at Gratiot, Licking County, reported that snow fell without intermission for fifty-six hours, and constituted the worst storm ever known at that place. Numerous other observers reported the storm as lasting continuously for two days. A few reports showed damage to trees by breakage, due to the heavy weight of the snow, which was very wet in most places. At Warsaw the observer reports many cattle and sheep killed by the crushing in of the shed roofs.

At Warren 5 1/2 inches of snow fell on the 19th and 30 inches on the 20th. The observer at that place, W. D. McCorkle, favored this office with a splendid photograph of the drifts near his residence. The observer at Green Hill reported 28 inches fell within thirty-six hours.

As a rule the snow had practically disappeared by the 28th, but in a number of localities the last traces of the great storm did not fade away until after the 30th.

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The Great Snowstorm of April 19-21, 1901

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a blog post, but today I’ve awoke my slumber to share some information and pictures pertaining to the significant snowfall in eastern Ohio between April 19th and 21st, 1901. This storm was unprecedented in its ferocity for so late in the season, and is still unmatched in terms of April snowfall. Indeed, the snowfall totals that occurred have rarely been noted in the state of Ohio at any time of the year. Given the warming climate, it would seem unlikely that an event of similar magnitude could ever reoccur at this time of the year — which is all the more reason to save this one for posterity.

Below is a contour map showing a rough distribution of the snowfall, in inches, from this event. Note that much of the eastern half of the state saw greater than 7 inches, with a large region of 13+ inches embedded within that. Local totals exceeded 30 inches.

Contour map showing snowfall accumulations during the storm of April 19-21, 1901.

Contour map showing snowfall accumulations during the storm of April 19-21, 1901.

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Cleveland climate history update (1854-2012)

Annual temperature (1855-2012)

Annual temperature (1855-2012)

2012 was the warmest year on record at Cleveland, since continuous records began in April 1855. The mean annual temperature was 54.0F, which was 0.5F warmer than the previous record warm year during the 1998.  The 1998 heat spike was associated with an unusually strong El Nino event that lead to a pronounced warming throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. The unusual warmth experienced in 2012 was associated primarily with the enhanced greenhouse effect, as atmospheric CO2 concentrations reached at or above 400 ppm in much of the Northern Hemisphere during the spring of 2013.

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Quick Update

I’ve seen some debate on various blogs and forums regarding whether the current El Nino is East- or West-based. In recent months, we saw a warming trend begin in the far equatorial Pacific, in particular the Nino 1+2 and Nino 3 basins. As time has progressed, however, the warming trend has spread westward and now encompasses much of the equatorial Pacific from east of the Dateline to the South American coastline. This can be visualized in the image below, which is a cross-sectional cut along the Equator in the Pacific Ocean region. Although the general trend is warming in all basins, it is worth noting that the most recent frame or two has displayed some tendency for cooling along the surface in the western Nino regions.

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Winter Outlook, 2012-13. Expect very mild weather overall, but more snow & cold late.

I’ve been doing some research on the various teleconnections and how they are shaping up for this winter. Based on my research, it appears a very mild winter is likely to occur during 2012-13.


The following indices were researched: the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific North-American Index (PNA), East-Pacific Oscillation (EPO), Arctic Oscillation (AO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), analogs, climatic trends with respect to temperature and precipitation, recent pattern progression/repetition, autumn precipitation/temperature departures, sea surface temperature anomalies in both the Atlantic and Pacific, cryospheric evolution (trends, anomalies), and solar trends.

The following factors are what I put the greatest amount of focus on in making this winter forecast:

– Northern Hemispheric trends
– The Pacific pattern (ENSO, EPO, PDO/PNA, NOI/SOI*, etc..)
– The Northern Atlantic pattern (NAO)

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Cleveland Temperature History, October to December


1 61.4 1947 44.9 1869
2 61.2 1900 45.2 1925
3 60.2 2007 46.2 1876
4 60.2 1879 46.5 1917
5 59.9 1971 46.7 1895
6 59.5 1920 47.1 1988
7 59.4 1963 47.5 1987
8 59.2 1949 47.6 1889
9 58.8 1919 47.9 1980
10 58.7 1956 48.0 1888


1 51.2 1931 31.3 1880
2 48.8 2001 33.7 1976
3 48.8 1902 33.9 1873
4 47.9 2011 34.8 1872
5 47.8 2003 35.0 1869
6 47.8 1994 35.7 1951
7 47.7 2009 35.9 1871
8 47.6 1909 36.1 1857
9 47.0 1975 36.3 1996
10 47.0 1948 36.4 1875
47.0 1934


1 42.0 1889 19.2 1989
2 41.0 1877 20.5 1876
3 40.5 1982 21.9 1963
4 40.4 1923 22.0 1872
5 40.2 1931 22.3 2000
6 39.0 1891 22.4 1917
7 38.7 1918 22.7 1880
8 38.4 2006 22.9 1960
9 38.1 1971 23.2 1983
10 38.0 1956 23.3 1976
23.3 1958