More winter weather, snow predicted for Columbia

Thursday, January 20, 2011 | 8:11 p.m. CST; updated 10:18 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 20, 2011

COLUMBIA — Two snow storms of 6 inches or more in 10 days is unusual weather for Columbia, and the snow might remain on the ground until March.

It was 1978 when Columbia last received as much snow as it has over the past weeks, said Tony Lupo, a professor of atmospheric science at MU. February, he predicts, probably won't offer any relief.

“We could be in for about 30 inches," Lupo said. "We’re already up to 24 inches for the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if we passed 30 inches.”

Having two snowfalls so close together has been unusual for Columbia, Lupo said.

The unusual weather can be blamed on the La Niña pattern, Lupo said. La Niña occurs when the surface temperatures drop in the western Pacific, leaving North America with cold, wet winters. Its counterpart, El Niño, occurs when the temperatures rise and leave the continent with warmer, drier winters.

Lupo predicts that Columbia will get a small taste of warmer weather in February between the snowfalls, but it will not stick around for good until the end of March.

Columbia resident Kelly Babcock said she doesn't like the snow all the time but she also doesn't mind the cold weather. Without proper clothing, she said, the snow is miserable.

“It makes a big difference. It makes your whole outlook better, and your attitude,” Babcock said. “Just as long as it’s all gone by spring break.”

Babcock's sons — Drew, 10, and Brett, 7 — said they like some of the benefits of the snow. Brett said he likes the summer better, but schools closing because of snow is pretty nice.

Columbia resident Brian Dawson said he enjoys the fresh snow.

“If you go walking in it, when it’s fresh and quiet, or sledding, it’s nice. But now it’s noisy and not as enjoyable,” Dawson said.

He said he enjoyed the warmer winters Columbia has had in the past, but he doesn't think this winter has been that cold.

"It’s not much colder than before," he said. "There’s just more precipitation.”

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