Thursday, April 28, 2016

The BIG Winter Recap - Part II - Northern Ohio (Summer Thoughts)

The last "cold" morning in Ashtabula this winter
The strongest El Nino since 1997-98 and a stable arctic tempered the cold of the last two winters. Temperatures across northern Ohio were well above normal with below normal snowfall similar to the winters of 2011-12, 2001-02, 1997-98 and 1982-83. Two of those three were strong El Nino winters.  Our outlook last fall was for above normal temperatures and slightly below normal snowfall.

Above normal temperatures were more extensive across the US. According to the NCDC, global ocean temperatures were at record levels.  (See PART I of my winter recap for other drivers)

Given the panhandle storm track forecast back in September/October, we were very confident that we would get hit with at least ONE big general snowfall which would boost snow totals into the 50-55 inch range. Overall, the heavy snowfalls stayed south and east of northern Ohio which kept our totals even lower. Those big snows came VERY close to northern Ohio!


How does this winter compare to the last two cold winters? How does this compare to the similar winter of 2011-12?  Here are the final tallies.  The same metrics used in last winter's winter recap were used this year to keep everything consistent.

Everyone thought winter was over until our early April snowfall. The April snowfall was almost 24% of the entire winter total; second highest ever!

 Lake Erie Ice Cover reached a peak of 75% for a few days in mid February.

 That's a bit misleading as the peak ice cover went from 3% to 79% in 3 days! In 11 days, it dropped to ZERO in a week and a half.  GRAPH BELOW

Ice cover was thicker and more widespread for much longer last winter.  For comparison, last year it took 28 days to reach 94% and it stayed above 90% for 47 days. Whereas in the winter of 2011-12 (similar to this winter--see above), ice cover reached 13%, only 6 days above 10%.  

Ice cover during the last big El Nino back in 1997-98 was even LOWER than this year. A whopping 8.4% maximum!

Will the leftover winter El Nino play a role in our summer temperatures and precipitation?  Will El Nino continue to weaken?  If so, how will this effect the summer and upcoming autumn? Will severe weather occur more frequently?  Summer Outlook coming up in a few days!  Check out