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.

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