Just How Cold Has This Winter Been So Far?

Wednesday, February 12th 2014, 4:56 pm
By: News On 6

From the many comments received about how cold we have been recently and for the winter as a whole, it just serves to illustrate how short our memories are. For example, so far for the month of Feb the average temperature is 15.9 degrees below normal which puts this time frame down as the 7th coldest on record. However, the 2nd coldest such period on record was just a few years ago in 2011 when the average temperature was another 5 degrees colder. Now that is remarkable but is still only the second coldest start to the month of February as the all-time record in that category goes all the way back to 1905. For the winter as a whole, we now stand in 8th place, just behind the winter of 2010-11.

Another interesting metric that serves to illustrate how cold we have been for this cold season is the number of days in which the temperature did not get above freezing. Now that a warming trend is setting in, we may well have seen the last of our sub-freezing days this go-round and the total now stands at 21 days. That is good enough for 4th place in that particular category with first place going to the winter of 1977-78, second to 1978-79, and third to 1917-18.

As mentioned, a warming trend is finally setting in and this cold spell will soon be but an easily forgotten memory. Normal daytime highs at this time of year are in the lower 50s and today's sunshine along with a westerly wind component at least got us closer to that number. Even warmer conditions are in the forecast with daytime highs well into the 50s for Thu and Fri and 60s are expected for the weekend going into next week.

There will be some occasional weak frontal boundaries pushing through the state during the period, but they will not amount to much more than a wind shift. For example, Thursday will see lots of sunshine and a S-SW surface wind. Friday will also have a lot of sunshine, but a brisk N-NW wind will knock daytime temperatures back briefly. Not for long though as southerly winds return for the weekend along with warmer days as well as warmer nights. The only real issue is when and how much moisture returns with the southerly winds. That could result in a low stratus deck at some point which would impact our daytime highs and have kept daytime highs generally in the 60s instead of shooting for 70.

Another relatively weak boundary looks to be arriving on Monday. There may be enough moisture in place by then for a slight chance of showers. However, as the 7 day QPF map on the right shows, we will be pretty much high and dry through that forecast cycle. Stronger systems look to be more likely though late next week and into that following weekend.

In the meantime, enjoy the warmer conditions. We have certainly earned it.

Dick Faurot