Almost half of the U.S. was under snow cover as of Monday, according to the National Weather Service’s National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.
Snow cover stands at 44.7 percent, compared with 12.4 percent a month ago and 34.7 percent on January 11, 2020; and 27.7 percent on January 11, 2019. In fact, you have to go back to January 11, 2016 to find a greater percentage of snow cover on this date — 58.3 percent.
And this year’s snow cover has penetrated unsually far south, through Central Texas and into Central and Northern Louisiana. Snow cover nears the Gulf Coast in Eastern Texas.
The last time it snowed in Florida was in December 2017, when a dusting was reported in the western panhandle, according to the Miami Herald. In January 2014, an inch was reported at the Pensacola Regional Airport. South Florida hasn’t officially reported snow since 1977.
The low in West Palm Beach Sunday was 42 degrees, enough to send stunned iguanas crashing down from trees. I found this iguana in my backyard Sunday morning, and at first I thought it was dead. On closer inspection, though, it was barely moving and I saw its eyes blink.
I left it alone while I went for a bike ride and by the time I got back, it had sufficiently warmed up to get its slushy blood circulating, and it was gone.
During a previous cold snap, I did see one definitely dead iguana on Flagler Drive.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been cold enough to make much of a dent in the population of this invasive species in South Florida, But iguanas that sought to further expand their territory into Central Florida no doubt discovered this year that the environment was a little more hostile than South Florida and the Keys.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, green iguanas have been spotted as far north as the Gainesville area, but there’s no way they’re going to make it through this winter up there.