Monday, December 16, 2013

Does Our Snowy Start Mean A Snowy Winter Overall?

Marblehead Lighthouse

The collective belief that this winter will be super-cold and snowy is loud after the recent snow and long period of colder than normal temperatures.  While the drivers of winter are pointing to this season (December through February) being colder and snowier than average, a cold and snowy start (late November and early December) doesn't always carry over.

Look at the snowfall totals by December 15th since the early 1950s. 2013 is on the far right with 15 inches so far. Most winters we have well below 15 inches by December 15th going back to the early 1950s. I highlighted the snowiest winter (2004-05) and the winter of 1977-78 which was made memorable because of two historical blzzards in January.

 Here is the list in order from top to bottom. Surprisingly, 2013 is 14th on the list since 1954

How much snow did we end up with at the end of the winter in the years which had the same or more snow on December 15th?

8 of the 13 winters had final snow totals BELOW THE AVERAGE of 68 inches!

This is a purely statistical comparison as the dynamic drivers of many of these winters are totally different than the current drivers and conditions. What does all of this show?  It illustrates that we shouldn't be fooled or convinced that this winter will be snowier based on what has happened so far.

Anything can happen.

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