You’ve probably heard Eric, Greg, or myself talk about meteorological winter. Meteorological winter encompasses the entire months of December, January, and February. This timeframe is slightly different from our typical astronomical winter (the time between the winter solstice and spring equinox). One of the main reasons meteorologists use months in their entirety is for the ease of record-keeping.
Now that we’ve had a refresher course on meteorological winter, warm-weather fans will love this next fact. We’ve already reached the halfway point of meteorological winter! So let’s look back at the first half of meteorological winter 2013-2014.
Snowfall at Chicago Rockford International Airport for the first half of winter was 8 inches above normal. From December 1st through January 14th, 25.4 inches of snow fell at the airport. Compare this season’s halfway-mark total of 25.4 inches to last season’s halfway-mark total of 2.7 inches and we’re in a different ballgame. However, last winter ended up with a final total of 40.5 inches of snow. As we all know, snowfall can vary greatly from month to month. The amount of snow we see during a “normal” winter season averages out to 36.7 inches.
Last 5 Winter Seasons
Snowfall During the First Half (Dec 1st – Jan 14th)
The warmest temperature in Rockford between December 1st and January 14th was 52 degrees on December 4th. The coldest temperature—still fresh on many of our minds—was a low of -18 degrees. This extreme temperature occurred twice. On January 3rd, the low of -18 degrees replaced the 1979 record of -16 degrees. On January 6th, the low of -18 degrees was just one degree short of the 1988 record low of -19 degrees.
Below zero temperatures occurred on 15 days during the first half of this winter, including a period of 40 consecutive hours between January 5th and 7th. Last year, we had zero! In fact, the for the entirety of last winter, only 2 days fell below zero!
Looking at temperature averages, we have been running below normal since the start of winter. December’s average high was 28 degrees and average low was 10 degrees. This was 5 and 8 degrees below normal, respectively. So far for January, our average high is 23 degrees and average low is 4 degrees. This is 6 and 10 degrees below normal, respectively.
The outlook for the rest of January will include a higher-than-normal chance for below normal temperatures. But remember, meteorological spring is just a month and a half away!
Posted under 13 Climate Authority, news, record weather, snow, statistics, weather, winter weather
This post was written by Joe Astolfi on January 15, 2014