It’s been almost 2 years (about 22 months) since the February Blizzard of 2013. That blizzard marks the last time that Providence (officially measured at TF Green) received at least one foot of snow from a storm. Here are some totals from that blizzard courtesy of the National Weather Service:
WEST WARWICK 21.5
TF GREEN AIRPORT 18.0
WEST GLOCESTER 27.6
EAST PROVIDENCE 17.3
Big southern New England storms after Blizzard of 2013 Have Missed Providence
Southern New England HAS seen some impressive snowstorms over the past 2 years, they just haven’t delivered for Providence. (While Providence official totals are recorded at TF Green Airport, I also checked actual Providence reports in the the city…these also fell well short of a 1 foot snowstorm). Here are a few of the notable storms:
March 6-8, 2013
About a month after the blizzard of 2013, a storm pounded parts of eastern Massachusetts with well over a foot of snow. Fall River was hit with over 17 inches, but TF Green ended up with a wimpy 2.3 inches! Parts of northern Rhode Island did get hit with heavy snow; the northern part of Cumberland got over a foot. I mapped out a few of the totals…the difference between Fall River and TF Green is impressive given the relatively short distance.
January 2-3, 2014
Some remember this as the “right after New Years” storm. I will have to double check this, but I believe this storm was the closest Providence came to picking up a foot. Here are a few of the totals courtesy of the National Weather Service:
TF GREEN 7.2
January 21-22, 2014
This storm was a pain because most of it fell from the Tuesday evening commute into early Wednesday morning. However, Providence once again escaped a major snow storm. I mapped out a few of the snow totals from this storm; notice how there are larger totals surrounding the Providence metro area. It’s almost like some kind of snow force field!
Despite the lack of the “Big One” in Providence, the winter of 2013-2014 was very active
Last winter brought many small to medium snow storms to the Capital City. If you remember, we had so many storms that salt shortages became an issue. TF Green officially recorded 43.6 inches of snow last winter; that is about 10 inches above the normal of 33.9 inches.
So WHY did Providence miss out on the big storms
The short answer is, I’m still trying to figure that out.
Part of the answer lies in the geography. Providence and the coast, on average, get less snow than their neighbors to the north. Areas along and to the north and west of 295 (Foster, Smithfield…etc) tend to be colder during snow storms; even a few degrees can make the difference between wet snow and accumulating snow.
But this doesn’t explain some of those storms which dumped snow in Fall River and left just a few inches in Providence. It also doesn’t explain the storm that gave Westerly and Fall River around 10 inches, Glocester a foot, and TF Green only 5.7 inches. Those high eastern Massachusetts totals are likely the result of the storm proximity…the offshore position of the storm sent the most moisture into Massachusetts, and not as much into Providence. Some of the higher totals in western and northern Rhode Island may have been the result of upslope (air rising as it moves into higher elevations) or there could have been a smaller separate atmospheric disturbance in western Rhode Island area.
Narragansett Bay could also play a role, as warmer waters just off the bay could limit the TF Green and Providence area totals.
Anyway, these are all just theories, but it certainly shows how forecasting snow is southern New England is no picnic! -Pete Mangione