BLOG: A Review of Winter, Preview of Spring

Meteorological Winter (December, January, February) is FINALLY in the books. The opening 8 weeks of 2015 were pretty amazing, I have to say. Cold and snow galore!

It’s easy to forget how mild and snow-free December was.

As far as the numbers, here’s the final tally: statsA couple of things to note. Precipitation was almost exactly average, even though snowfall was well above average. The departure from average in the temperature department was heavily, heavily influenced by February’s departure of 14 (FOURTEEN!) degrees.

Here’s how this Winter compares to previous one: coldestwinters

Notice that we have had 2 “top” 10 coldest Winters in a row. Much like the cold period from 1976-1979.

How did the numbers stack up against our Winter forecast, issued at the end of October? Our forecast was for Winter to be about 3 degrees below average. tempforecastThe forecast would have been almost perfect had February even be “crazy” cold instead of CRAZY cold. Here’s the temperature departure map for the whole country: djfOverall, not a bad forecast!

What about March and Spring?

If you are hoping for a super warm Spring, you are likely out of luck. Many of the same atmospheric drivers from Winter will still be present this Spring. That said, we are NOT expecting the crazy departures from average that we had over the Winter.

In the short term, we WILL see a pattern change over the next couple of weeks that will finally bring some warmth into the region. Watch the pattern shift from this week to the middle of the month: mar5mar13That’s more like it! The ridge that has camped out over the West Coast all Winter will finally migrate east and allow above-temperatures to take hold. Check out the GFS outlook: imageControlWow. Might as well say 90!

That said, March OVERALL may end up being  below average if the latest climate models are to be believed. cfs

Last Spring we saw that the colder and icier-than-average Great Lakes do have an impact on our Spring weather. That will be the case again this year. Air masses will get refrigerated as they cross over the lakes. modis1

Thanks for reading!

Eric

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