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Warmer Winters Don't Mean Less Snow

by Lauren Casey

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In our warming world, the overall area of North America covered by snow is decreasing.

That is because more winter precipitation is falling as rain instead of snow.

However, locally, the trend is a bit trickier.

"Depends on where you live. I bet here in Philadelphia, mild winters would be snowier because there would be higher humidity in the air," said Raphael Cunniff

As Raphael stated, on a local level, individual storms are trending to produce heavier snow, and it all has to do with moisture.

For every 1°F rise in temperature, the atmosphere can hold 4% more water.

All five of Philadelphia's highest snowfalls have occurred since 1983, and our top three since 1996.

In fact, more than 40% of U.S. counties have had their biggest two-day snow totals since 1980.

How do some feel about the prospect of snowier winters?

"No. I don't like the snow. I don't like the winter. I don't like the summer either unless I'm near a pool."

In the Great Lakes region, warming is leading to more snow in some downstream areas.

When the lakes go longer without forming ice, it allows for increased evaporation, which yields more moisture and thus the potential for more lake-effect snow.

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