This Winter Was Fourth-Warmest On Record: NOAA

Sebastian Werner/CC BY 2.0

New stats from NOAA are in on the past winter (technically current, I suppose), showing that in the lower 48 states it was the fourth-warmest winter on record, and the warmest of the 21st century.

For the December to February period the average temperature was 36.9°F, that being 3.9°F warmer than the 1901-2000 average.

On a state level, 27 states had winters that ranked in their top-10 warmest. The exception was New Mexico, the only state in the nation experiencing a winter colder than that long-term average.

NOAA/Public Domain

In terms of precipitation, the nation averaged 5.7", 0.78" below the long-term average. However, regional variations were far more extreme.

California, after having record levels of snowfall in the winter of 2010-11, had its second-driest winter on record, with precipitation coming in 7.82" below average for the state. Montana came it as the eighth-driest; Oregon and Idaho experienced their tenth-driest winters.

Snow cover for the period across the nation came in as the third least snowy in the past 46 years (when satellite records began), covering 237,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average. Snowpack in California, Nevada and Arizona has less than half average.

The only places experiencing above-normal precipitation was the center part of the nation, from the Ohio Valley into the Southern Plains.

The situation was different in Alaska: The state was 1.4°F below the long-term average for the period—though that is the result of well below normal January temps being balanced out by December and February moderation.

More winter weather stats: NOAA

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects

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