Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter scorecard

Cold by recent standards and, of course, snowy.

Winter scorecard

In the weather community this is the last day of the meteorological winter, and while the winter of 2010-11 was memorably snowy but not among the elite in terms of cold.

In an era of generally mild winters, officially in Philadelphia it was the fourth-coldest of the last 25. but it will go into the books as an unexceptional No. 45 on the all-time 137-year list.

The average temperature for the Dec. 1-Feb. 28 period is going to come in at 32.9 the way things look now, the lowest since the 32.7 of 2004.

The 44 inches of snow was good enough for 2010-11 to become No. 8 in the 125 years of snow records.

And, yes, no one we're aware of came close to forecasting the correct total, although in early January Glenn Schwartz at NBC-10 did up his estimate to around 36 inches.

The consensus call was for snowfall somewhere near or below the 20-inch normal, if that. The thinking was that the La Nina cooling event in the equatorial Pacific would spare Philadelphia a mega-snow season.

This was a particularly strong Pacific cooling episode, and Tony Gigi at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly has pointed out that this season's total is a record for a moderate or strong La Nina.

The winter began with a decided chill as December temperatures averaged 4.7 degrees below normal, the coldest in a decade. January finished at 3 below normal, but February will go into the books about 3 above.

One cautionary note: The books aren't quite closed on snow just yet. Nothing is in the forecast, but it's been known to happen in March.



Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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