The snowfall of winter 2015

April 05, 2015

Our resident meteorological guru, Peter Lewis, has prepared this report on the snowfall of winter 2015, the reason for postponement of this year’s E2C event.

The Great Snows of February and March 2015 in Halifax and the Southern Maritimes

A combination of well-below normal temperatures and a persistent storm track across the southern Maritimes produced a period of extreme snowfalls and snow depths in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Southern New Brunswick throughout the months of February and March 2015. The rather benign start to the winter in December and January had ski hill operators concerned and gave little indication of what was in store for February and March. The observing site at the Halifax International Airport reported no measurable snow on the ground on January 31st but that was the last time bare ground would be seen at the site likely until mid to late April (hopefully no later!). Significant snow will likely be present in Nova Scotia woodland until well into May.

The snowfall and temperature statistics for Halifax Airport for February and March 2015 compared to the “Normal” (or average) values for the 30-year period 1980-2010 are displayed in the table below.

The total snowfall recorded for the 2 months was an incredible 277.5 cm compared to the “normal” of 82.5 cm. However, the well-below normal temperatures resulted in very little thawing taking place so the snow on the ground kept piling up. From a depth of 35cm recorded on February 3rd it took until March 12th before a lesser depth (29 cm) was recorded, but this was short-lived. The depth increased to in excess of 90cm on March 19th. The month closed out with 60 cm still on the ground compared to the “normal” value of just 1 cm! The previous “record” daily snow depth for March of 54 cm was exceeded or equaled on 15 days in March 2015. In a “normal” year 7.3 and 3.2 days with a snow depth of above 20 cm can be expected in February and March respectively. In 2015 only the first 2 days in February had FEWER than 20cm.

Snowfall and Temperatures Halifax Int’L Airport February/March 2015 Compared to Normal

February Normal


February 2015 March Normal


March 2015
Total Snowfall cm 45.4 130.8 37.1 146.7
Extreme Snow Depth cm 81 80 54 93*
Snow on Ground at Month End 10 54 1 60
# of Days with Snow Depth > 20cm 7.3 26 3.2 31
Average Daily Temperature -5.1 -10.0 -1.3 -4.7
Average Maximum Daily Temperature -0.6 -5.2 +3.1 -0.3
Average Minimum Daily Temperature -9.7 -14.7 -5.7 -9.1

*Previous daily record snow depth exceeded 15 times in March 2015