Does this mild weather signal what’s to come?

Today marks the fifth time we’ve seen 50 degree temperatures in Rockford this month.

Tomorrow’s projected 54° high will make bring our final total to six times for the month.Believe it or not, there has been only one other January with more 50 degree days and you have to go all the way back to 1933!

There have been only four Januaries with 5 or more 50° days which shows how out of the ordinary this weather has been.

On Sunday, at the parking lot of the grocery store, a man approached me and said “Eric, do you think we’ll get any more snow storms?” I told him “Yes, but the chance will be going down as we head into February.” What does February and March look like? Well, let’s take the similar Januaries (1933, 1934, and 1973) as examples.

First, let’s look at what’s typical from this point forward. Looking at the 101 year climate record, we should expect 12.23 inches of snow from here on out. But that’s what’s normal. We know that this winter has NOT been that way.

February and March 1973: 7.8″ of snow
February and March 1934: 3.3″ of snow
February and March 1933: 17.0″ of snow

Now, even though two out of the three years had below-average snowfall, I found one interesting thing: The snows that did fall came in bigger batches. This means that the ‘once every week’ snows don’t occur. Instead, the snows came from bigger storm systems, spread farther apart!

As far as temperatures go, it’s almost unanimous: we’ll get closer to normal for February and March. But keep in mind, our average high and low temperatures will be rising more than a degree each day beginning in the last week of February.

My take from this research is to expect more of the same. Sure, there will be bouts of cold (and even Arctic) air. And we will get some more snow…we just have to have an eye out for the random snowstorm that could come in the next six weeks! -ES

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Coming up Thursday, we’ll take a close look at the Groundhog’s Day Blizzard, a billion dollar disaster for the U.S. I hope you’ll join us as we sit down with WGN Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling to see how this compared to the biggest snows he remembers and Ed Fenelon, Meteorologist in Charge of the National Weather Service, as recalls the efforts by forecasters. A special you won’t want to miss, Thursday night at ten.



Posted under climate/climate change, snow

This post was written by qni_it on January 30, 2012

6 Comments so far

  1. Andy January 30, 2012 5:53 PM

    If it stays dry tommorow my motorcycle is coming out of the garage and my ice fishing gear mite be put up for the year.I have a feeling we are gonna pay for this come spring eric!

  2. tony January 30, 2012 9:17 PM

    You know andy, I agree with you. Without that greenland block in place, I almost dread if this spring is as violent as it was last spring. The storms last year I think stayed south because of the block. This season, I fear they may come up this way.

  3. Jerry Waller January 31, 2012 7:39 AM

    Eric, forget about February and March. What were the following summers like after the winters like this? Did we pay for it with a cool rainy summer or was it hot and dry? Also, what was the following winter like? Was it above snowy and cold or were they “Normal”?

  4. Eric Sorensen January 31, 2012 9:20 AM

    Jerry, while we can get clues to the next few months, the evidence gets even more murky that far out. However, once January is done and I have a full set of data for Dec and Jan, I will see if I can find anything linking us to past patterns…that may link us to the spring and summer.

  5. jim February 3, 2012 8:43 AM

    Is the Billion Dollar video available online?

  6. Women Air Jordan 11 Max Fusion February 15, 2012 3:24 AM

    Most of men and women will concur with you and I ought to thank you about it

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