Meteorological winter will wrap up at the end of the month. Typically the coldest three months of the year, meteorological winter includes the entire months of December, January, and February. As we all know, this winter has been exceptionally snowy and cold. In fact, we are currently the 4th coldest winter on record! Amazingly, the top 3 coldest winters in Rockford all occurred one after another in the late 1970s.
The winters of 1976-77, 1977-78, and 1978-79 were the coldest, taking into account high and low temperatures. The winters of 1977-78 and 1978-79 hold the title for the 13th snowiest and 2nd snowiest, respectively. The snowiest meteorological winter was 2007-08 with 65.1 inches.
With our current forecast through the end of the month (Thursday & Friday), we have a good shot at tying for the 3rd coldest winter! But what happens after meteorological winter?
March 1st is the start of meteorological spring. Meteorological spring encompasses March, April, and May. The average temperature for the season is 48.9°F. If we look at the harsh winters of the late 70s, many of them ended up with below average spring temperatures. One year that bucked the trend was 1977: coming off of the 3rd coldest winter was the 2nd warmest spring on record!
Snow is likely during the first half of meteorological spring; it’s even possible into May. However, after snowier-than-average winters in 1977-78 and 1978-79, spring snowfall was actually below average. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come as we head through the next several weeks! Winter 2013-14 is, after all, the 9th snowiest on record.
In the weeks to come, there are a few signs that temperatures will warm above average. Unfortunately, it’s not until the middle of March! Looking beyond spring, the three late 1970′s meteorological summer seasons ended up just slightly below average on the temperature trend.
This post was written by Joe Astolfi on February 26, 2014