Late May Snow Storms of 1883 and 1894

According to the Report of the Ohio Meteorological Bureau for the Month of May 1883, a significant snowfall occurred in parts of the state on the 21st and 22nd. The report states:

“A heavy fall of snow occurred on the 21st in the north-western parts of the State. Snow is reported on that date from Dayton, Sidney, Lima, Upper Sandusky, Wauseon, Lebanon, Westerville and Columbus. The greatest depth was 15.5 inches at Lima. At Wauseon, the depth was 6.5 inches, at Sidney 7 inches, at Dayton 2 inches, and at Upper Sandusky 3 inches. At other stations the amount was small. Notwithstanding the depth of the snow and the great area covered by the storm, so far as has been ascertained no particular damage to vegetation resulted from it. One of our observes, Mr. G. A. Hyde, of Cleveland, who has kept a meteorological record for many years, reports that he has recorded but three snow-storms in May during the last 28 years. These were on May 1st, 1861, one-tenth of an inch, May 2nd, 1869, two-tenths of an inch, and May 1st, 1877, three-tenths of an inch.”

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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 more than a foot, with local totals in excess of 36″.

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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Cleveland Temperature History, July through September

Figure 1. Mean monthly temperature at Cleveland for July, 1855-2012. The temperature has been increasing at a trend of +0.9F per century.

1955 79.1 1960 67.6
2012 78.0 2000 68.0
1868 77.7 1891 68.0
2011 77.6 1884 68.6
1949 77.6 1882 68.6
1921 76.8 1984 68.7
1952 76.5 1965 69.0
1931 76.3 1895 69.0
1999 76.2 1871 69.0
1935 76.2 1924 69.2
1901 76.2 1920 69.2

Table 1. Top ten warmest and coldest Julys on record at Cleveland.

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