2015 is nearly in the books and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this blog, following me on social media and watching my forecasts on TV. It is much appreciated!
2015 has been a remarkable year weather-wise in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys with extremes in temperatures, rain and snow. I thought I would share my top 5 weather stories of the year.
#5: Another Pleasant Summer With a Lack of Extreme Heat
For the second year in a row, the warm season wasn’t….well, all that warm in our part of the country. Sure, we had some warm days and sticky nights but long stretches of high heat and humidity were almost completely absent. The last 2 summers have been much different than many of the previous years.
*A correction to the graphic above: We had 4 90+ days this summer, 2 in July and 2 in September.*
Notice how many days featured below-average highs in June and July.
#4 EF0 Tornado in Hermitage Area on May 31
Late May and June was a stormy period across the Valley. On May 31st (the 30th anniversary of the 1985 outbreak) a tornado touched down briefly in the Hermitage area, causing damage to a Sheetz station and flipping a vehicle. Trees were uprooted as well. There were no injuries. Maximum winds were estimated to be 80 mph.
#3 VERY Wet June in the Valley
June brought several rounds of thunderstorms and some other heavy rain events. Trumbull County was particularly hard hit. The airport picked up about 9″ of rain, making it one of the wettest Junes (and ANY month, for that matter) on record.
#2 El-Nino Fuels a Record Warm December
We are finishing up a REMARKABLY warm final month of 2015. It El Nino totally to blame? No, but it was a lot to do with it. El Nino (the warming of waters in a certain part of the Pacific Ocean) causes fluctuations in the jet stream that can often favor warmer-than-average weather in our part of the country in winter (especially early winter). The effects are most pronounced when it is a STRONG El Nino and this year’s is the strongest on record.
Temperature anomalies for December across North America:
The coldest high temperature this month? 31. Only 2 other Decembers on record had a “lowest high temperature” that warm. 2011 and 1931.
Of course, November was quite warm as well. All this warm weather means the snow season is off to a VERY slow start. In fact, this is the least amount of snow through December 31 on record at the Youngstown airport.
#1 Record Cold February
After a mild and mainly snow-free December, winter kicked in during January and did not release us from it’s icy grip until the end of March. Things peaked in February, when temperatures rarely made it above freezing and some nights featured lows of -10 to -20. The calendar view is pretty amazing to look at:
I mean, look at that stretch from February 9-28! 20 consecutive above-average days. No above freezing temperatures from the 12th through the end of the month. Only January of 1977 was colder.
The expanded set of February stats shows that it was a snowy month too, although we didn’t have a “whopper” at any point. 7″ on the 1st day of the month was the biggest one day total. There was a healthy snow pack on the ground all month. Many did not see grass until the 2nd week of March.
The Year in Temperatures, Precipitation
It was a year of bookends. The year start brutally cold, was very warm at the end….and the middle was pretty average.
The precipitation numbers are skewed by the very wet month of June. Drier than average months actually outnumbered wet months but we will finish the year with a 5+” surplus.
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year! Wishing you and yours a healthy and prosperous 2016.