U.S. Snow Cover Reaches Record High Across Lower 48 States

The record-setting cold that has gripped the central U.S. has pushed snow cover across the 48 contiguous states to an all-time high in the 18-year database of the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.

Snow covers about 73.2% of the U.S. to an average depth 6 inches (15 centimeters), according to the agency. A year ago 35.5% was covered to an average depth of 4.6 inches. The center watches snow cover and water content in part to predict how severe spring flooding may be when it melts.

Winter storm warnings and weather advisories earlier this week stretched from New Mexico to Maine and affected 157 million people, the largest extent of such bulletins since 2005, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

The cold and snow have crippled electric grids across the U.S. South, leaving thousands without power as utilities struggle to provide rising demand.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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