Get ready for the full February 'snow moon' this weekend

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
·2 min read

Get ready for the full snow moon, coming to a sky near you on this final weekend of February.

It will rise in the east at around nightfall on Friday and will cross the night sky until it sets early Saturday morning in the west. The actual moment it reaches full moon phase is 3:19 a.m. EST Saturday.

Why is it called the snow moon? For millennia, people across the world, including Native Americans, named the months after nature’s cues. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, full moon names in our part of the world date back to the Native Americans who lived in the northern and eastern U.S.

Each full moon has its own name.

"The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon," the almanac said. "Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred."

This month it's the snow moon because of the month's typically heavy snowfalls. Calling February's full moon the snow moon is right on target: On average, February is the USA's snowiest month, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Although much of the snow from last week's ferocious rounds of winter weather has melted across the nation, the U.S. is still 31% snow-covered as of Thursday morning, NOAA said. That's down from 73% last week.

About once every 19 years, February has no full moon at all, EarthSky,com said. The last time that happened was in 2018.

The Old Farmer's Almanac also said some tribes referred to February's moon as the "hunger" moon because harsh weather conditions made hunting difficult.

The snow moon follows January's wolf moon. The worm moon will grace the sky in March.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Snow moon: Full moon is coming to a sky near you this weekend