...It depends how you define "worst winter in years."
Most of us define past winters using four metrics: Average Winter Temperature (Dec through February), Seasonal snowfall, Number of nights at or below zero and the number of days with snow on the ground greater than one inch (how often does the snow cover the grass).
I revisit this topic because we will air our Winter Weather Outlook Thursday, October 30th at 10PM. Invariably, everyone is comparing this upcoming winter to last year's rough winter. If we only had longer weather memories, we'd soon realize that last winter was comparable with winters in the early 2000s both in snowfall and in temperature.
* Was last winter a rough one? Certainly.
* Were the temperatures extreme? Only the night time lows (6 nights below zero in January, 4 in February--3 were records).
* Did we break snowfall records? Nope. Not even close. More snow fell in the winters of 2002, 2003 and 2004.
The graphics below tell the story perfectly.
AVERAGE WINTER TEMPERATURE (DECEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY)
SEASONAL SNOWFALL - TOP 10 WINTERS
NUMBER OF NIGHTS AT OR BELOW ZERO
DAYS WITH SNOW ON THE GROUND AT OR GREATER THAN ONE INCH