Where will snow fall in the US as the Snow Moon rises on Sunday?
The full moon will be visible for many across the country, but AccuWeather meteorologists say that real snow could obscure the winter-themed astronomical event for some.
This first weekend of February will be under bright moonlight with the rise of the Snow Moon on the night of Feb. 5. Let’s find out how this month’s full moon gets its nickname.
Snow has been hard to come by for much of the Northeast so far this winter leaving many of the large cities with snow deficits. Residents in the Northeast and elsewhere across the United States can look to the sky for snow of a different kind at the end of the weekend.
The Snow Moon, the last full moon of meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere, will reach peak brightness on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. EST, although it will not rise above the horizon across the continent until after sunset on Sunday evening. The snow-themed moon will appear full through early Tuesday morning, according to NASA.
The upcoming full moon is nicknamed for the heavy snow events that typically occur during the month of February. Other nicknames for February's full moon include the Groundhog Moon, the Hungry Moon, the Bald Eagle Moon and the Raccoon Moon.
Shawn Griffith, of South Port, Maine, watches the nearly-full "snow moon" rise in clear skies over Penobscot Bay, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Camden, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Every full moon has its own unique nickname based on a particular activity or event that usually occurs during that month. Some of these nicknames date back hundreds of years to Native Americans or early Colonials settling across North America.
Late in the day on Sunday will offer the best opportunity to view the moon, which will appear above the horizon around sunset and reach its high point in the sky around midnight, local time.
The brilliant moonlight will outshine Comet E3, which has drawn the attention of stargazers and photographers in recent weeks. Even with the help of a telescope, the full moon will make it difficult to spot the green comet in the sky.
AccuWeather meteorologists say there will be some parts of the U.S. where snow will be falling as the Snow Moon rises this weekend, restricting visibility of the winter-themed astronomical event.
"Some snow showers will be found across far northwestern Pennsylvania, western and upstate New York state and northern New England Sunday night," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.
"Areas of snow can also be found across parts of the Intermountain West, including the Wasatch Range, northern Rockies and Washington and Oregon Cascades," Pydynowski said.
In California's Sierra Nevada, more than 2 feet of snow is expected to fall through Sunday as a new Pacific storm moves onshore. By Sunday night, the heaviest snow is likely to be over, but there can be snow showers that persist during the first part of the night.
Forecasters say most of the country can anticipate good viewing conditions for the Snow Moon with no forms of precipitation, wintry or otherwise.
"Mostly clear skies will provide for good viewing conditions Sunday night across the Tennessee Valley, Gulf Coast states and much of the southern and central Plains," Pydynowski said. "The Four Corners region and Southern California should also have a good chance of viewing the Snow Moon."
Those who miss out on the Snow Moon may have a chance to view the next full moon in early March. The Worm Moon is scheduled to appear in the night sky on Monday, March 6, and Tuesday, March 7.
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