Joe’s Weather Blog: Meteorological winter ends (WED-2/28)
Today is the last day of meteorological winter. We close the books (somewhat) on the winter season after tonight…and meteorological spring starts on March 1st. We do this because of the varied days of the start and end of winter/spring astronomically. This way stats can be more consistent…and if stats are more consistent…that’s all good by me. In the end this will be a slightly below average winter from a temperature standpoint…and while some rain will occur today, it won’t be much…so a drier than average winter will be the end result in KC. One stat that we haven’t closed the books on yet…is the snow totals…we’re still shy of 6″ with no expectations of that changing all that much for the foreseeable future.
Today: Cloudy/misty/drizzly and not as warm as yesterday with highs in the 50s
Tonight: Cloudy and chilly with lows dropping into the 30s. There may be some leftover showers with a small chance of a few flakes on the backside of this system
Thursday: Clearing out and pleasant with highs 50-55°. It will be windy as well with 15-30 MPH gusts possible.
Friday: Nicer with lighter winds but still a breeze and highs in the mid 50s
This has been, despite the lack of snow, or really even the significant risks of decent snows in the region, a pretty interesting winter. I think most would instinctively say this was a cold winter. That would be right. as we finish off the month today and the “winter” as it were from December 1st>today this should end up as roughly the 46th coolest winter in KC weather history out of about 125+ winter seasons of records. This will also be somewhere between 25-30th in the driest winters in KC weather history as well depending on what happens today. As of this writing we’re at #24…but we should have at least a few hundreths worth of rain today I think.
I think if you were to ask most non-weather savvy people they too would agree it’s been a harsher winter in the area. Let’s dive deeper into the stats though and go day be day through the winter looking for the below average daily temperatures and contrast them to the above average days. Starting in December. I’ve highlighted the days of below average temperatures.
That month had quite a few contrasts. 14 days were below average and 17 days above average. We had 6 days with average temperatures at least 10°+ below average and 10 days with at least average temperatures 10°+ or higher. We had 3 days with average temperatures 20° or more below average. Overall though it was a month that ended up above average by a whooping .6°.
A very up and down month…14 days below average…17 days above average (again). 9 days with temperatures either 10° above or below average and 3 days with temperatures either 20° above or below average. It was an up and down month! Overall though it was a month with temperatures .4° below average.
Finally February…all data through yesterday.
We had 13 days with above average (including today) and 13 days with below average temperatures. There were 2 days with average temperatures. We had 7 days with temperatures at least 10° or more below average and 6 days with temperatures at least 10° above average and we had 1 day with temperatures at least 20 degrees below average. Through yesterday the month is running 1.8° below average. We may take a bit off that after today (not much though).
So when you wrap up the season…
41 days below average…47 days above average.
22 days with temperatures at least 10° below average…17 days with temperatures at least 10° above average
7 days with temperatures at least 20 degrees below average and 3 days with temperatures above average.
So out of the 88 days (not including today) there were 39 days with temperatures at least 10° above or below average. Almost half the days this winter had a significant variation from average. That’s pretty impressive I think. I have no idea how that stacks up to previous winters though…it does anecdotally seem excessive to me.
Here are the regional rankings…for temperatures through the 27th.
The moisture situation wasn’t so good. It’s something that will need monitoring heading into the spring season. You may remember last late winter when there were all sorts of grass and brush fires out there. As the winds of spring kick in (a taste came yesterday) the dormant vegetation will be very vulnerable to fire.
The bigger story though I feel is the moisture situation…especially in the Plains states…here are the totals since 12/1. That’s Garden City, KS with nothing.
Meanwhile farther south into the TX Panhandle…yikes!
From a snow standpoint…we’re still below 6″ with no real hope of adding much to that anytime soon, and once past mid month…the snow window, which appears to be nearly closed now…with be barely cracked open. I really don’t see much to get excited about for the next 10 days or so. This may well be the 1st time we have less than 10″ of snow for 3 straight winters in KC.
One note…after being blasted by snow in Erie, PA to start the winter…things have almost shut down there (for now). In December they had over 120″ of snow…in January over 22″ and this month almost 13″…quite the significant drop off there.
Our feature photo comes from Daphne Burns via twitter