“Meteorological Winter” is a bit different than “Astronomical Winter”, which runs from about December 21-March 21 each year. Meteorological Winter is considered to be December 1-February 28…the 3 coldest months of the year. So, we are now about halfway through Meteorological Winter. Let’s take stock of the Winter so far.
Here are the cold hard facts in one tidy graphic:
Notice that the “departure from normal” number is not that significant, 0.3 degrees below normal. Here’s a snapshot look at each day’s temperature pattern so far:
We are above normal in the precipitation department, mainly because it has been fairly snowy so far. This chart shows the recorded snowfall this season compared to average (and I threw last season’s snow for the same time period for the sake of comparison):
January has been REALLY cold, right? Well overall….not really. A bit below average, yes…..but the extreme cold we had last week has been balanced by many mild days recently. Here’s the departure from average map for the US and Canada so far this month:
Check out what the mild air has done to the ice coverage on Lake Erie since last week. It was nearly frozen over after the Arctic outbreak (left side) but many open area appeared this week (right side):
What does the next 7-10 have in store? Some pretty typical January cold is likely through early next week. The next 2 maps show temperatures across North America today (top) and Monday (bottom):
Notice that the harshest cold will be mainly bottled up in Canada early next week. BUT, the floodgates will open by midweek and it looks quite cold for a few days:
What about snow? At this point it does not look like we will see any significant accumulations over the next week.
But what about the rest of Winter? Predicting how much snow we will get over a 6 week period is next to impossible….but for “fun”, I looked at previous Winters that had similar snow totals in the December 1-January 14 time frame to this Winter.
Average snowfall from January 15-February 28 is 22 inches. But despite snowy starts to Winter, 4 out of 5 of the Winters I looked at had below-average snow in the 2nd half of the season.
Will this Winter end with a whimper too? We shall see!
Thanks for reading!