Good news, cold weather fans! Meteorological winter has arrived! The time frame of meteorological winter is different from astrological winter. Meteorologists classify the three calendar months with the coldest average temperatures as winter. Therefore, the entire months of December, January, and February (December 1 through February 28) are considered to be meteorological winter. For statistical and climatological purposes, this makes sense.
Astrological winter—which is what most people follow—arrives on the winter solstice. This year, astrological winter begins on December 21 at 11:11am CST.
What can we expect during the winter months?
December’s average high temperature slides from the upper 30s to near 30 by the end of the month. On average, 11.3 inches of snow falls throughout the month.
January is our coldest month of the year. Average highs are in the upper 20s. Average snowfall is 10.2 inches.
February’s average high is around 30 degrees at the start of the month and rises to 40 degrees by the end of the month. Average February snowfall is 7.7 inches.
So on average, about 30 inches of snow falls during meteorological winter with a seasonal average high temperature around 32 degrees.
Of course, these are just statistical averages. We all know high temperatures can and will be in the single digits on a few days; other days will bring temperatures that are well above average. Below zero temperatures are not uncommon either. Snow storms can often bring a month’s worth of snow in just one or two days time.
No need to panic, though. Significant snow accumulations are not in the short-term forecast. Although next weekend will be downright chilly!
This post was written by Joe Astolfi on December 1, 2013