Mid-Winter Scorecard and a Look Ahead

Groundhog Day was a few days ago, and it’s on February 2nd because it’s nearly halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. So, we are a bit over halfway through Winter. I thought it would be a good time to see where we are in terms of historical Winters in Northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

First of all, the Sun’s rays are still definitely most directly aimed at the Southern Hemisphere but not as severely as earlier in the season! Here’s how it looks from space this evening:

IMG_0767We are also gaining daylight at a more rapid pace in February as the Sun gets a bit higher in the sky. We are gaining almost 2.5 minutes per day, as shown on the sun table for the rest of the month:

sun

Of course, we just got done with a pretty healthy snow and ice storm here, and we were not alone. Snow cover across the US is very extensive now, almost as extensive as it has been all season:

uscover

Closer to home, notice the snow pack is not as deep near Youngstown as it is to our south and west:

ohiocover

Ok, so how is the winter shaping up? Cold and snowy, right?? Yes. But not nearly as cold and snowy as some seasons. Here’s a graph showing average temperatures through this date since 1930:

wintertempsColder than the past couple of winters, yes. But when ranking the winters since 1930, this season is just the 23rd coldest:

tempranik

As far as snow, this season does not compare to the mega winter of 2010-11, but it’s been a busy one:

snowwinter

We are in 10th place on the list of snowiest winters since 1930:

snowrank

How does this season compare to average? Above by quite a bit, but check out how it compares to that huge winter a few years ago:

snowchart

Looking ahead, well….

1690017_280953372058313_2041150209_n

But seriously…we are locked into winter for the foreseeable future. The Wednesday evening temperature map tells the story:

temps

The next 2 weeks look to dominated by cold. Latest GFS ensemble model shows it:

gefsNumbers on left side of chart are far temperatures will be above or below average (“0”).

Long range forecasting is very tricky and forecasts will change frequently. BUT, as of right now the “CFS” climate model shows relief in March:

marchYES, that is an above-average temperature color over Ohio and western PA! Let’s hope this pans out.

Thanks for reading!

Eric

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