Fourth warmest winter on record for the U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:54 PM GMT on March 08, 2012

February is gone, and the non-winter of 2011 - 2012 is the history books as the fourth warmest in U.S. history, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center yesterday. The winter average temperature of 36.8°F was just 0.4°F cooler than the warmest winter on record, the winter of 1999 - 2000. If you lived in the Northern Plains, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast, it seemed like winter never really arrived this year--27 states in this region had top-ten warmest winters. Across the U.S., only New Mexico (41st coolest) and Alaska (35th coolest) had winter temperatures colder than average. According to NOAA's Climate Extremes Index, the percent area of the U.S. experiencing extremes in warm maximum temperatures (top 10% on record) was 49 percent--the 4th highest value since the index began being computed in 1911. Jackson, Kentucky, Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey all had their warmest winter on record.


Figure 1. Contiguous U.S. temperature rankings for the winter of 2011 - 2012 (the months of December - January - February.) The 117-year period of record begins in 1895, and each state is given a ranking based on how cold this winter was, relative to the other 116 years. Thus, a ranking of 116 means it was the 2nd warmest winter on record. Image credit: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.


Figure 2. Contiguous U.S. temperatures for winter (the months of December - January - February), from 1895 - 2012. The winter of 2011 - 2012 was the 4th warmest winter on record, behind 2000, 1999, and 1992. Winter temperatures have increased by abot 1.7°F per century (red linear trend line.) Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

Third least snowy winter on record for the contiguous U.S.
Warm and dry conditions during the winter of 2011 - 2012 led to snow cover extent that was the 3rd lowest in the 46-year satellite record, according to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab. Snowfall was particularly low across parts of the West, where much of California, Nevada, and Arizona had a snowpack less than half of average. Fortunately, the West had a near-record snowpack the previous winter, so this year's lack on snow will not cause serious water availability problems during the summer. In the Upper Midwest, the lack of a winter snowpack will substantially reduce the chances of spring flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. NOAA issues their annual spring flood outlook on March 15, and it is likely to show a much lower risk of flooding compared to last year, when 1-in-100 to 1-in-500 year floods hit much of the Missouri and Lower Mississippi rivers. However, the remarkably low snow cover this winter over the Upper Midwest will allow soils to dry out much more quickly than usual, leading to increased chances of summer drought. The latest Drought Monitor map shows moderate to severe drought covering nearly all of Minnesota and Northwest Iowa; these regions are at high risk of suffering damaging drought conditions during the summer growing season.


Figure 3. State-by-state rankings of precipitation for the winter of 2011 - 2012. Four Western states had a top-ten driest winters on record, and Kansas had a top-ten wettest winter. Drought-stricken Texas, which entered the winter expecting drier than average conditions, since it was a La Niña year, lucked out, getting an unusually wet winter. Records go back to 1895. Image credit: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

A very mild winter for the Midwest
If you live in the Midwest, you saved a bundle this winter on heating and snow removal costs. In Minneapolis, where the low temperature falls below 0°F an average of 30 days each year, the temperature fell below zero on just two days. These days were January 18 and 19, when the low hit -1°F and -11°F, respectively. Since record keeping began in 1891, only one other winter has had so few below-zero days--the winter of 2001 - 2002. Third place is held by the winter of 1930 - 1931, with six below-zero days. Minneapolis has seen half of its usual snowfall this winter--just 22.1" as of March 7, which is 22.1" below the average of 44.2". The least snowy winter for Minneapolis occurred in the winter of 1930 - 1931, when just 14.2" of snow fell on the city.

Chicago has also seen far less snow than usual--just 19.8" as of March 7, 11.8" below their average. In a normal winter, there are 13 days with sub-zero temperatures in Chicago. The coldest it got in Chicago this winter was a relatively balmy 5°F on January 19. This is just one degree cooler than the warmest winter low temperature ever recorded in the city, which is 6°F. Here is a list of the winters in Chicago that have had no sub-zero temperatures, with the coldest temperature of the winter shown in parentheses:

1930-31 (6°F)
1959-60 (6°F)
1905-06 (6°F)
2011-12 (5°F)
1982-83 (3°F)
1938-39 (2°F)
1955-56 (2°F)
1931-32 (1°F)
1881-82 (1°F)
1936-37 (1°F)

NCDC's Dr. Deke Arndt has a two-minute video discussing the reasons for this year's warm winter. The primary factor was the position of the jet stream, which lay much farther north than usual.

I'll be back Monday at the latest with a new post.

Jeff Masters

Mild Winter (26mileman)
With mild temps people are out riding their bikes.
Mild Winter
March 6-7 aurora in Palmer Alaska (alaskario)
(c) Rebecca Oprish Photography. If you share this picture anywhere, please be sure to credit the photographer.
March 6-7 aurora in Palmer Alaska
A Little Light... (ceocrocker)
Amazing what sunlight, river debris and a little skim of ice can produce!
A Little Light...

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Looks like a lot of rain on the way for many, especially out west...

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 92 Comments: 8859
www.solarham.com

added 3/9/2012 @ 18:10 UTC

Another Incoming CME

According to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the CME caused by the M6.3 Solar Flare early this morning, will have an Earth bound component that will likely re-intensify the Geomagnetic Storming on March 11th. Strong Geomagnetic Storming will again be possible.




The new WSA-Enlil Solar Wind Prediction shows an impact Early Sunday morning at 07:00 UTC with a Solar Wind increase to over 600 km/s. Click HERE to watch the latest model run. Stay Tuned.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

You realize the icon could be for the morning hours, right??


That would be the whole sentence of "Of course, it will be snowing in the middle of the night when the temperature is -9C" was for. After all, it's just the way Environment Canada designed their website that made it like that. :P
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Quoting yqt1001:
Oh environment Canada.your poor website interface can be funny sometimes.



(13C = 55F, and yes that is "Snow and high of 13C")

Environment Canada doesn't post lows in the afternoon for the next day. Of course, it will be snowing in the middle of the night when the temperature is -3C, but still..sure looks like we will get snow during one of the hottest days in months. :P

You realize the icon could be for the morning hours, right??
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 128 Comments: 35716
Oh environment Canada.your poor website interface can be funny sometimes.



(13C = 55F, and yes that is "Snow and high of 13C")

Environment Canada doesn't post lows in the afternoon for the next day. Of course, it will be snowing in the middle of the night when the temperature is -9C, but still..sure looks like we will get snow during one of the hottest days in months. :P
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In other news, the GFS continues to show two good Severe Weather days on the 18th and 19th. Whether this pans or not is yet to be seen, but the model has been consistently showing it for several days.



Enjoy the break while it lasts because we're almost to the real Severe Weather season.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 128 Comments: 35716
Quoting yqt1001:
Actually, I can see why; right when Koji was upgraded:



So it's on a weakening phase now.

Probably explains this:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 92 Comments: 8859
Actually, I can see why; right when Koji was upgraded:



So it's on a weakening phase now.
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Quoting hydrus:
Nothin wrong with strange. The good kind of strange anyway..jmo

To the few are given, the light to illuminate the way!
To the many are given the choice to observe.
To all are given the gifts of comprehension!
To mankind was given the burden, one day to choose?
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

The picture in this post doesn't do Koji justice... It's actually becoming a decent storm...


Visible satellite imagery always make storms /look/ more defined than they actually are. Using infrared imagery is a good choice. :)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 128 Comments: 35716
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Koji has reached hurricane status...



Not sure how, but ok... (atleast it looks more like a hurricane than Nate did)

It doesn't have a very well defined eye though.



So no clue as to how it got classified as one.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Koji has reached hurricane status...


The picture in this post doesn't do Koji justice... It's actually becoming a decent storm...

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 92 Comments: 8859
Koji has reached hurricane status...

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 92 Comments: 8859
Quoting Patrap:

.."The Sun is the same in a relative way but your older, and shorter of breath, and one day closer to death"..
Love Pink Floyd. Been listening to them since childhood.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 28037
Quoting PlazaRed:

Its also "Strange people who are observing all this!"
Nothin wrong with strange. The good kind of strange anyway..jmo
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 28037
Now..you can have this to chew on for the weekend. Their way ends today at 6:59pm CDT.

The new Way begins at 7,

..firm.


Banks Repaid Fed Bailout With Other Fed Money: Government Report


...and by the way.

.."maybe note the date and views above in the video."

Our new connectivity has arrived.

Be part of it.

The old way is finished.

A new Dawn comes in the morning.
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Brand new footage filmed from a super 8 camera of the Challenger disaster..
Link
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A waterspout made land fall in Lanikai and tore up a street! An hour earlier we had golf ball sized hail raining down for about 45 minutes....Welcome to paradise...

(Windward Oahu)


Unusual event in Hawaii.
Good rest of the day to you, wubloggers.
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Quoting Patrap:

.."The Sun is the same in a relative way but your older, and shorter of breath, and one day closer to death"..

I cant do the links from here but:-
Saucerful of secrets:-
Set the controls for the heart of the Sun!
If somebody could put the link up? Who has already found a way round embedding as Keeper did a few days ago?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


maybe
either way
we are on the way
to there point in time
and nothing of this earth
can stop it

These are interesting times. I have to say, I dig a lot of the posts I see here. Very enlightening to be sure. It is cool to know that people have the same interests as I do in all the sciences, and thanks to modern technology, can share our thoughts on the universe..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 28037
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


maybe
either way
we are on the way
to there point in time
and nothing of this earth
can stop it


Its also "Strange people who are observing all this!"
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Quoting hydrus:
Strange weather on the Sun, strange weather on Earth. The Mayans may have been on to somethin..


maybe
either way
we are on the way
to there point in time
and nothing of this earth
can stop it

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 64578
Quoting Patrap:
When all that's left, the ones bankrolling all this , will find they cannot eat their money.


Oh.
The gift the Gifty give us? To see ourselves as others see us?
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When all that's left, the ones bankrolling all this , will find they cannot eat their money.

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Quoting Patrap:
Event on the Limb is under way




www.solarham.com

Looks like we might be in for another one of those rattlings!If its not the ground that's shaking, its the heavens!
Lots of shocks around Japan and other backwaters of the pacific,( I wonder if its name has anything to do with pacify and peace etc?)
Here in Southern Spain, drought holds the sway and we have had only 2 days of rain this winter of any significance and they were not "Significant."almost none of the usual small rivers are running in the southern Andalusian area.
Given that we have 23% unemployment and cash is an historical subject, I noticed tonight that a lettuce costs about $2.50! Potatoes, $1 a pound!
More to come soon, summer just round the corner!!
One of the features of climate change is that nobody much seems to take the economic consequences of food shortages seriously;Yet!
Still I supose there will always be a savior in, "Burgernomics?"
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 64578
Quoting Patrap:
Event on the Limb is under way




www.solarham.com


this one rides lower better aim for the deed
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 64578
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Earlier today, Hawaii was hit by a waterspout/3" hail producing supercell...cool huh?


Image 1. Current radar imagery.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 28037
Quoting barbamz:
In case this interesting observation hasn't been mentioned on the blog yet:

Scientists Detect Seismic Signals from Tornado
ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2012) —
An Indiana University geophysical experiment detected unusual seismic signals associated with tornadoes that recently struck regions across the Midwest -- information that may have value for meteorologists studying the atmospheric activity that precedes tornado disasters. (More see link)

Anyway greetings over the pond, Barb


Thanks. Interesting article!
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Earlier today, Hawaii was hit by a waterspout/3" hail producing supercell...cool huh?


Image 1. Current radar imagery.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 128 Comments: 35716
Quoting Patrap:
Event on the Limb is under way




www.solarham.com
Strange weather on the Sun, strange weather on Earth. The Mayans may have been on to somethin..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 28037
Event on the Limb is under way




www.solarham.com
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Quite an interesting sounding from the RUC:



The temp at 900 mb (or about a kilometer up) is almost 10*C (or 15-18*F) warmer than it is here at the surface! Also note the wind direction.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Link


Thank you for posting the link. I also follow him as he knows his stuff.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
The storms seem to be initializing right along I-10. The group of storms with the highest reflectivity is headed straight for me, although they still have quite a bit of time before they reach here.



I have been watching this same radar all day lol. Looks like the rain along the coast line is finally starting to materialize. Nothing heavy at the moment but if it can get going, it will look good for rain this afternoon/evening.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Do you have the link to Anderson's discussions?
Link
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 92 Comments: 8859
The storms seem to be initializing right along I-10. The group of storms with the highest reflectivity is headed straight for me, although they still have quite a bit of time before they reach here.

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Quoting SoAl:
It's 60F in Calgary Alberta today! Pretty balmy for the end of winter. Haven't heard from Environment Canada yet but it has been 10 or more degrees above normal for a majority of the fall and winter here.

That's 15*F warmer than it is here in Central Texas... :P
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Decent rains here lots of lightning and thunder some small hail also near Austin earlier.
Member Since: July 5, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1348
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
This is from Brett Anderson at Accuweather... While I'm not a big fan of Accuweather, Brett is pretty good at what he does and this goes in line with what a lot of people are saying for the coming spring, summer, and hurricane season.

The new ECMWF seasonal forecast, which updates once a month is now released on the 8th of each month.

The model continues to forecast above normal temperatures across much of the eastern two-thirds of North America from the upcoming Spring and right into the summer, though it shows near-normal temperatures for the Northeast U.S. and most of eastern Canada this summer.

One other thing that was striking is that the model steadily weakens the La Nina this Spring and trends toward a weak El Nino later in the summer. Keep in mind, even if this happens, there is a lag effect and so the overall atmosphere could still have the look of a La Nina through the Spring and not show any influence from a weak El Nino until the end of the year or next year.
Also, the model is forecasting a busy hurricane/typhoon season for the central and western Pacific region, while a drier, quieter season is indicated for the Atlantic basin.



Do you have the link to Anderson's discussions?
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This is from Brett Anderson at Accuweather... While I'm not a big fan of Accuweather, Brett is pretty good at what he does and this goes in line with what a lot of people are saying for the coming spring, summer, and hurricane season.

The new ECMWF seasonal forecast, which updates once a month is now released on the 8th of each month.

The model continues to forecast above normal temperatures across much of the eastern two-thirds of North America from the upcoming Spring and right into the summer, though it shows near-normal temperatures for the Northeast U.S. and most of eastern Canada this summer.

One other thing that was striking is that the model steadily weakens the La Nina this Spring and trends toward a weak El Nino later in the summer. Keep in mind, even if this happens, there is a lag effect and so the overall atmosphere could still have the look of a La Nina through the Spring and not show any influence from a weak El Nino until the end of the year or next year.
Also, the model is forecasting a busy hurricane/typhoon season for the central and western Pacific region, while a drier, quieter season is indicated for the Atlantic basin.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 92 Comments: 8859
528. SoAl
It's 60F in Calgary Alberta today! Pretty balmy for the end of winter. Haven't heard from Environment Canada yet but it has been 10 or more degrees above normal for a majority of the fall and winter here.
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In case this interesting observation hasn't been mentioned on the blog yet:

Scientists Detect Seismic Signals from Tornado
ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2012) —
An Indiana University geophysical experiment detected unusual seismic signals associated with tornadoes that recently struck regions across the Midwest -- information that may have value for meteorologists studying the atmospheric activity that precedes tornado disasters. (More see link)

Anyway greetings over the pond, Barb
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.
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Quoting hydrus:
The radar almost looks like summertime.:)


Well it's 85 here with a dewpoint of 67 so we are definitely getting into the swing of summer around here. We may see this everyday thru most of next week with some days having higher coverage than others.



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Quoting StormTracker2K:
Some pretty good thunderstorms firing off to my west and this is only the beginning as this activity will only increase in coverage and in intensity once the seabreeze collision happens.

The radar almost looks like summertime.:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 28037
Some pretty good thunderstorms firing off to my west and this is only the beginning as this activity will only increase in coverage and in intensity once the seabreeze collision happens.

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Quoting Patrap:


The Last was the 5.1 and it was very much Earth Directed and caused re-routing of High Alt Commercial Flights, commercial traffic from the N. Pole.

This latest 6.3 is a glancing blow and wasnt as "expansive" as the 5.1 event. So a Glancing blow is anticipated, but Aurora still may be possible in the Middle Latitudes...


The latest 6.3 was an M-class flare, the last one was an X-class flare which is much larger. Without the class of the flare 6.3 and 5.1 are meaningless.

Here this may help

img src="The Classification of X-ray Solar Flares
or "Solar Flare Alphabet Soup" A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun that happens when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields (usually above sunspots) is suddenly released. Flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays. [more information] Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. There are 3 categories: X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth. This figure shows a series of solar flares detected by NOAA satellites in July 2000:
Each category for x-ray flares has nine subdivisions ranging from, e.g., C1 to C9, M1 to M9, and X1 to X9. In this figure, the three indicated flares registered (from left to right) X2, M5, and X6. The X6 flare triggered a radiation storm around Earth nicknamed the Bastille Day event. Class Peak (W/m2)between 1 and 8 Angstroms B I < 10-6 C 10-6 < = I < 10-5 M 10-5 < = I < 10-4 X I > = 10-4">

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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