Winter made a big pivot on this day in 2022. After a mild start to the season with warmer temperatures and limited snowfall, a large storm impacted the Valley into the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. Snowfall totals were in the double digits with snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour at times. The system shut down businesses and canceled events while crews worked to clear the large amount of accumulation. It was the start of a stretch of active and snowy weather that lasted for a few weeks and kept snow on the ground for days.
How did we get so much snow?
An area of low pressure moved into the region from the south. The system took a rather uncommon track, riding right along the Appalachian mountains. Storm systems tend to move along one side or the other of the mountain chain when moving through the region. The uncommon track resulted in northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania in the “sweet spot” for heaviest snow with the system. Adding to the totals was the abundant moisture being pulled into the region from the Atlantic ocean. All variables needed for heavy snowfall lined up over the area and led to one of the biggest snows on record.
Was snowfall above or below normal before the storm arrived?
Snowfall was well below average prior to the arrival of the snowstorm on Jan. 16-17, 2022. Total snowfall for the season on Jan. 15 measured 13.7 inches. The 2021-2022 snowfall season started with a snowy November 2021. A total of 9 inches of snow was recorded at the airport in Trumbull County in November 2021. Normal snowfall in November is 4.5 inches, meaning the month ended with double the average amount of snow.
But December 2021 came in well below normal, with just 2.5 inches for the month. It was 12.3 inches below the normal total of 14.8 inches. January 2022 had a pretty uneventful first half of the month. Total snow Jan. 1 through Jan. 15, 2022, measured just 2.2 inches.
The 13.7 inches of snowfall measured at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport from the start of the 2021-2022 snowfall season through Jan. 15 was much below the normal. Normal snowfall in a winter season would be 29.4 inches by that time, but snow for the season was running 15.7 inches under the average.
How much snow fell Jan. 16-17, 2022?
When all was said and done, the 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend storm tied for 17th highest two-day snowfall total. The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport measured 12.3 inches of snow over those two days. While the airport came in with just over a foot of snow, higher totals were recorded in the region. Below is a look at total snowfall accumulation maps released by both National Weather Service forecast offices covering our area. You will find below those images select totals from each county.
Trumbull County Totals
|Newton Falls 1||15.6″|
|Newton Falls 2||14.0″|
|Mosquito Creek Lake||12.5″|
|Youngstown/Warren Regional Airport||12.3″|
Mahoning County Totals
Mercer County Totals
Columbiana County Totals
Lawrence County Totals
|South New Castle||9.1″|
What happened after the snowstorm on Jan. 16-17, 2022?
That storm system really was a pivot point for the winter season. After the passage of that storm came several other storm systems that dumped snow over the Valley. We had 35 consecutive days with at least 1 inch or more of snowfall reported on the ground at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. That is our 16th-longest stretch of days measuring at least 1 inch or higher snow depth at the airport since records have been kept.
We received nine times as much snow for the second half of the month, totaling 20.9 inches from Jan. 16-31. We picked up another 15.8 inches of snow in February 2022. March 2022 measured 8.3 inches of snow and another 2.5 inches fell in April 2022.
Total snowfall at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport for the 2021-2022 season came in at 61.2 inches. While it was still below average by 6.6 inches, it was much less below normal compared to the snowfall deficits through the first half of winter.