Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Northern Ohio Winter Weather Scorecard

 

We were spoiled over the last 2 winters with little snow and frequent breaks in the cold. This winter has been more typical of winters past: Long stretches of cold, a deep snow cover with periods of extreme cold. How does this winter compare with recent winters? Last 30 winters?

We all perceive the winter to be a certain way depending on how much weight each of us puts on the different parameters. Some use snowfall as the definitive measure of the winter's weather. Others look at the extreme cold (nights below zero) as a better measure. We will look at several winter parameters to determine how they all rank across the board.

1) The average temperature since December 1st:

  4 winters since 2000 were far colder OVERALL! How would you rank this winter so far?... Coldest in years? Do you think it's in the top 10? 
This winter ranks...45TH ALL-TIME!

The average temperatures for the month of January:

This month was far colder...coldest in 5 years YET only 29th coldest all-time!
How about snowfall:  44.9" through the 29th of January with more wet snow to come.

This is the most since 2008-09. Yet we've had 7 winter since the early 1990s with MORE SNOW through the end of January.

Lake Erie ice cover has increased to well above 95% after the most recent arctic outbreak.  
 This is the most since 2011 when we had 97.6%. The years with more ice cover as of January 29th:  2011, 2003, 1997, 1994, 1986, 1982, 1978, 1977



We tend to recall the extremes of a season not the averages. So how to the extremes rank? Here are the number of days in the single digits. 
This year has had the most single digit temperatures since 1994
This year's 27 days at or below freezing is comparable to other colder winters since the early 1980s 

Many, many days with snow on the ground make the winter seem a lot worse. We have 43 days so far. The way we are going, this year will finish out as having the most days with at least an inch of snow since the late 1970s.
15 more days with at least of snow on the ground will break the ALL-TIME record of 57 days!

There's a lot of information here. What we need to take home from all of this winter data is this:   

The winter is no where near the coldest overall (45th coldest). Here is where the psychology comes into play: When evaluating how cold the winter has been thus far, we remember the extremes in both temperature (most in 20 years) and days with snow on the ground (close to the all-time record) not the averages.

3 comments:

Dennis said...

What do winters like this one tell us about spring and summer? Are there any trends in the data that would point to and early spring? A warmer spring? A cooler spring?

Dennis said...

What do winters like this one tell us about spring and summer? Are there any trends in the data that would point to and early spring? A warmer spring? A cooler spring?

Scott Sabol, Meteorologist said...

This winter tells us virtually nothing about spring and summer. The drivers are not the same.