What a difference a year makes! Meteorological Winter (Dec-Feb) is going out like a lamb this year with the warmest last day of February in over 25 years for the U.S. as a whole. Nearly the entire country trends 10 to 40 degrees warmer than last year with the Southern half of Florida the only area trending colder. Last year 28 Feb was the #1 coldest in over 35 years for the U.S. as the Polar Vortex remained parked over much of the country. And, over 60% of the U.S. was blanketed in snow – a near record for so late in the Winter season. This year less than 23% of the country will have snow on the ground.
Here in Eastern PA as an example we were suffering through high temps in the low to mid 20s last year on the 28th…this year middle 50s and low 60s…Capt Kirk will take it! Chicago will trend some 36 degrees warmer than last year so thumbs up to that PA rodent prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil for an early Spring prediction.
With meteorological Winter ending on 29 Feb it appears we’ve had the #1 hottest Winter in 121 years (thank you El Nino), the wettest in 6 years and 3rd least snowfall in 25+ years for the U.S. overall. We’ll have a detailed recap on Monday.
Now the bad news – the Plains and Upper Midwest likely to get an 8-12″ moderate snow storm as we turn the calendar to March. See our facebook fan page for a video animation of the storm’s potential track. It will turn briefly colder in the East but we expect this pattern to flip flop back to the West Coast in March with cold and rain returning to California. And we have to watch for a frost in the valleys of California for the 2nd week of March!!!
Have a great weekend folks! – Capt Kirk out.
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We are less than a week away from the end of the “meteorological Winter” (1 Dec – 29 Feb) so thought we’d share some of the high level trends. We’ll have a complete recap on Monday next week.
For the U.S. overall (based on 260 major cities across the U.S.):
- #1 Warmest in 121 years – A RECORD WARM WINTER for the U.S. as a whole. This is a wholesale change from the past two winters that were colder than average.
- National temps were +4.3F warmer than last year and +3.5F above a 25 year average.
- The coldest Winter in recent history was 2009-2010 and 2000-2001.
- Count of 32F sub-freezing days down 13% which is least in 25 years.
- Heating Degree Days (HDD) are the least on record and down 11% vs average.
- Consumers saved a ton on their heating bills this year.
- 2013-2014 had the most HDDs with consumer heating bills soaring.
- 3rd wettest in 25+ years for the U.S. as a whole
- Wettest in 6 years and very nearly wettest in 18 years.
- 22% above average and 32% more than last year.
- The wettest season was back in the last record strong El Nino of 1997-1998.
- The driest winter season was in 2001-2002.
- 3rd LEAST in 25+ years for the U.S. overall.
- 27% below average and 22% less than last year.
- 2011-2012 was least snowy.
What a difference a year makes. This week last year we were still talking about a non-stop Polar Vortex that wouldn’t give up, this year record heat and a nation-wide warm surge developing. Here’s just how dramatic the change in temperatures is across the U.S. over the next few days.
Chicago, IL High Temperature of 4F last year (low -3F), this year 62F some 58 degrees warmer than a year ago (19 Feb Friday)!!!!
Minneapolis 45 degrees warmer than last year (19 Feb Friday)
Dodge City, KS was 44F this date last year, record hot 86F this year, 42 degrees warmer (18 Feb Thursday)
Washington DC some 40 degrees warmer (19 Feb Saturday) 66F on Saturday!
Bethlehem, PA 36 degrees warmer than last year (20 Feb Saturday)
New York City, NY 32 degrees warmer than last year (20 Feb Saturday)
Boston, MA 31 degrees warmer than last year (20 Feb Saturday)
Enjoy the spring-like surge as it won’t stay this extremely warm for long. Yes we have a potential storm Wednesday in the East again but pick your models. The Euro says snow for the DC to Boston corridor, then yesterday it says all rain, now back to snow. US GFS says all rain from DC to Boston with snow out in the Appalachian Mountains with a track more similar to this past Monday’s storm that brought some light snow but mainly heavy rain. The pattern is not overly favorable for a huge snow storm as those usually form with cold air in place – much easier to get a snow storm with cold air retreating than with cold air trying to move in for the DC to BOS corridor. With the above warm surge in advance of the storm it’s not an ideal set up for snow lovers from DC to Boston. Still worth watching as it has potential.
The good news is the strong Arctic High Pressure system is now off the New England coast taking the Arctic air with it. This past weekend in the Northeast was the coldest in over 25 years with quite a few record low temperatures set Valentine’s Day morning. Here at wt360 headquarters in Bethlehem, PA we dipped to -1F. For the U.S. overall the Valentine’s Day weekend was the 3rd coldest of the past 25+ years and coldest in 9 years.
With the High Pressure off the Northeast coast it will serve as a steering mechanism to take the strong developing storm in Mississippi and move it up the Appalachian Mountains. This will allow for a very strong southerly wind flow at the surface and aloft to take over this evening. This will change the snow in the Middle Atlantic over to all rain this evening with temperatures going up overnight all the way into Eastern New England. Snowfall amounts will generally be light in the 1-4″ range from DC to Boston with the changeover to heavy rain this evening. Heaviest snow totals will be in Central Virginia and South Central Maryland where a few spots will pick up 4-6″ before the changeover.
Tomorrow will be all rain well into New Englandand 250 miles inland of the coastwith heavier snow actually WEST of the Appalachian Mountains as the storm tracks through West Virginia, Western New York into Canada tomorrow. Urban street flooding will be a concern since the ground is frozen solid.
The good news if you like warmer February weather is the coming weekend (20th-21st) which shows the entire country trending above to much above average temperatures! In fact, the U.S. overall will trend #1 warmest in over 25 years with below average snowfall trending the least in 9 years. Even the Northeast will get in on the warmer weather trending warmest in 14 years and 12 degrees above average! This is a huge change from last year when this weekend continued the frigid trends with record shattering cold a year ago! Only fair this year is near record warm. 🙂