Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter's Halfway Mark

When we've only had three below average days in the first half of winter, one can easily deduce that it's been a rather warm time of it so far.  In fact, our average temperature is running six degrees above average so far this winter, warmest since 2006-07 (which came in at 43.8 degrees in the first half).

This is not the warmest first half of winter on record but we are running ahead of last winter on temperature.

We are, barely, running ahead of last winter on snowfall as well.  The Airport (er, National Park) has picked up 1.1" of snow this winter, which is a bit more than a half inch above last winter's paltry total.  In fact, over the last several years it has been a true feast or famine in the snowfall department with the exception of the winter of 2005-2006, which was at 7.2" through mid January.

"Normal" snowfall through mid January is 6.4" for the winter.  Keep in mind in Philadelphia, there's no such thing as "normal" snow in most winters.  We've only had two years in the last seven prior to this winter where snowfall ended up within five inches of the "normal" spot -- 2008-09 and 2005-2006.

Keep in mind for those who are pained by the lack of snow that we've had three years in the last seven with less than ten inches at the midpoint of meteorological winter, only to end up cashing in with ten or more inches in the second half to bring a "decent" end to the cold season.  Winter's far from over and the next six weeks are historically the region's snowiest as the city's average is nearly 13 additional inches of snow  before the end of February.

As 2006-2007 showed, warmth is not necessarily a bad indicator of how the whole of winter will fare.  Given our pattern is taking a colder turn next week, winter hasn't checked out considering it's just about to settle in for more than two days as it did at the beginning of January.