Some perspective is in order regarding our recent (several-year) lack of significant snowfall. A BIG thanks to Larry Brown (climate expert with the NWS Wakefield) for providing the following facts and insights. In summary, here’s the deal:
Richmond historical snowfall data is from RIC airport since 1930, and from Chimborazo Park from 1897-1929. There have been many long-term spells of relative snow-drought during the data period. Notably, the decade of the 1920s with avg annual of 7.5″, and the 1990s with 7.0″. Even more notable, though, is the 30-year average from 1921-1950… just 10.6″, that even counting the record-breaking snow season of 1940.
The heavy snow period that many folks fondly remember from their youth is the 15-year span from the late ’50s to early ’70s. The 1960s average was a remarkable 24.1″ ! That time period is what helped drive our long-term average numbers way up versus the much lower figures from the ’20s through ’50s. Bottom line; big extremes, often lasting for a decade and longer, are the norm.
When you look at so-called “expected” snowfall, it may therefore be more accurate to consider the median snowfall instead of the average, since a relatively small number of heavy-snow seasons tend to skew the average way up. Over the historical record period, that median number is 10.9″.
Posted by Jim Duncan