Comapring this winter to 2001-02... (2-2-12)
We’re now moving through the last half of our winter season and we’re still tracking the above normal temperatures and below normal snowfall. I had been keeping tabs on the Winter of 2001-02 since that was a very mild winter like this one but when you compare every month from late fall through January it actually turns out that winter was even warmer than this winter:
After looking at those numbers I thought we weren’t quite in the same league as 2001-02 but then I dug a bit deeper. When you look at the last two months, most of the difference in temperatures is due to cooler overnight lows this winter. The average highs between both winters are almost equal.
When I broke down the numbers a bit more here is what I found when I compared the December and Januarys of both winters.
Dec. Average High/Low
43.7 F/ 29.8 F
43.5 F/ 28.2 F
Jan. Average High/Low
39.9 F/ 25.9 F
39.4 F / 22.9 F
It may not have been a chill-up-my-spine moment but it is a bit spooky how similar the winters really are to this point. Keep in mind that the 2001-02 seasonal snow total was 59.4” which is the least snowy winter since records have been kept at the airport. Here is a comparison of what was going on at the jet stream level both of those winters:
Days at 40 F >
Days at 50 F >
Total Snowfall Thru Jan 31
Days With Snow Cover
Keep in mind that this is an average over 2 months so that takes out a lot of the extremes but the similarities do stand out with the main branch of the jet stream to our north both winters. As a point of comparison I’ve also included a jet stream for the same two months last winter (2010-11) when we had more than 100 inches of snow. Quite a difference:Back to the mild winter of 2001-02. That winter the mild weather continued into the late winter/early spring. There was 60 degree weather at the end of February, 70 degree weather in early March and even upper 80s in the middle of April! We did have some snow to finish up the winter season but it wasn’t extraordinary. A bit more than a foot of snow fell both in February and March (even with some lake effect) and there was even a little snow during April.
Whether our winter ends up like 2001-02 remains to be seen but similarities so far makes us wonder whether there is more mild weather in our future.
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