I hesitated to post the final details on this past winter until I was pretty darn certain we were finished with snow. Historically, we have always used April 15th (Tax Day) as this magical, non-scientific date that signifies the demarcation between snow and spring. If you can make it to the 15th, 99 times out of 100 you're good to go. This winter worked out great in this regard.
Here are the final winter numbers. See my early March post on the metrics we typically use and why we used them. Many of these graphics compare this winter to last winter and the COLDEST winter ever (1976-77) in northern Ohio.
Our winter outlook was created by analyzing the global sea surface temperatures in these regions.
Pacific warm and cool pools have shifted since last winter (2013-14). Yet the result was the same: COLD EAST, MILDER WEST.
|Image courtesy: Larry Cosgrove|
|Negative EPO favors eastern cold. Eastern US Cold periods circled in red|
|Positive PNA favors eastern cold. Cold periods circled in blue|
|-WPO favors eastern cold. Cold periods circled in red|
Last summer (2014), talk of a strong El Nino faded as a central based El Nino developed called a "Modoki". These central based weak El Nino come in many different flavors. The current El Nino is circled at the top of the graphic below.
These favor below normal temperatures across the eastern US and above normal temperatures across the west. Ridge west, trough east.
Our winter forecast was created with weighting certain years in our analog set. Our forecast matched up very close to the overall average temperatures across the US from December through February.
We started off very cold in November partially driven by the Typhoon in the Pacific. It boosted the Gulf of Alaska low which boosted the ridge of warmth in the west which in turn drove cold south across the eastern US. I wrote about the Typhoon Rule back in November and how we uses that to forecast the November cold.
Overall temperatures across the continental US on November 18th were the coldest since 1976!
The high of 18 degrees on the 18th was the coldest November day since 1958; 4th coldest high temperature in November since the 1870s.
US temperatures rebounded in December after the cold November. We had one SNOWFALL in December which was under an inch. The 3rd lowest total since 1893; lowest since 1931.
By New Year Day, people were wondering where this cold winter was we had outlined in our outlook back in late October. I kept telling people on Facebook and Twitter to be patient. The cold is coming and when it does, it will harsh and similar to the year before. Guess what happened in January? The slow turnaround toward ARCTIC COLD began across the eastern US.
By February, the arctic floodgates had opened across the eastern 1/2 of North America. It was ALL-TIME COLDEST February in Cleveland since weather records began in 1871.
due to cold air drainage down the surrounding terrain had a low of -39 degrees!
February 14th through the 20th was 5th coldest 7 day stretch in 145 years in Cleveland coming close to matching the arctic cold of 1994.
Remember back a few winter ago when the ski resorts were having a tough time staying open because of the lack of snow and cold? Look at the winter 2012-13 temperature ranks vs the last two winters.
|Coldest winter since 1977-78|
|Less days above 40...|
|More days below freezing|
Arctic cold and clear/calm skies produced huge ranges of temperature.
Very cold late season morning lows we haven't seen since the early 1960s!
We had much more snow in 2013-14 vs this past winter...hard to believe. If December snowfall would have been closer to average, the last two winter snow totals would have very close.
|Days with snow cover of at least ONE INCH. Last winter we had more.|
Peak Lake Erie Ice Cover and Dates.