These charts say it all really…
Weekend Arctic blast brings big reality check!
From record warm highs back on Wednesday to record cold highs this weekend in Northeast…
80F in DC
Record low maximums are in jeopardy Saturday afternoon.
Pretty nippy nights coming up!
Winter 2016-17 was much warmer and wetter than average for parts of the United States, according to preliminary data compiled by the Southeast Regional Climate Center. One region, however, saw much colder temperatures than average, while a few areas reported one of the coldest winters on record.
Temperatures were very mild in much of the eastern half of the U.S., and for many, it didn’t feel like winter. Meanwhile, chilly air gripped the Northwest, which gave the region one of its coldest winters on record.
In terms of precipitation, winter will be remembered for the series of storms that brought heavy rain and mountain snow to California.
For all the superlatives below, December through February is considered winter in meteorological record-keeping.
Warm and Cold Extremes
This winter will likely be remembered as warmer than average in many areas, especially the East. Numerous locations, from the Great Lakes and Northeast into the South, saw a top-10 warmest winter.
The dots in orange indicate a top-5 warmest winter (December-February) and the dots in blue are where winter was a top-5 coldest. (Southeast Regional Climate Center)
Houston recorded its warmest winter on record, with an average temperature of 61.5 degrees. The previous record was 57.8 degrees, which occurred in 2011-12. Average temperature refers to the average between each day’s high and low temperatures compiled from December through February.
A record number of 80-degree days occurred in Houston during climatological winter: 22 days, or about 25 percent of all winter days.
Staying in Texas, Austin also recorded its warmest winter on record. The average temperature over the past three months was 58.6 degrees, which broke the previous record of 57.6 degrees in 1999-2000.
Dallas-Fort Worth also experienced a record-warm winter, with an average temperature of 53.6 degrees. This breaks the old record of 53.0 degrees, set in 1999-2000.
Portions of Florida also saw very mild conditions. Miami reported its warmest winter on record, with an average temperature of 74.2 degrees. The previous record was 73.1 degrees, which occurred in 2007-08.
The temperature in Miami did not drop below 50 degrees the entire winter, which has never happened in 121 years of records in the South Florida city.
Fort Myers, Florida, also experienced its warmest winter in history. The average temperature was 70.9 degrees, breaking the prior record of 70.1 degrees from 1948-49.
A large swath of the eastern U.S. was mild enough to at least finish with a top-5 warm winter. Atlanta, for example, recorded its third-warmest winter, with an average temperature of 52.2 degrees. New Orleans also recorded its third-warmest winter at an average of 61.2 degrees.
Farther north, Raleigh, North Carolina, measured an average temperature of 47.9 degrees, making it the city’s third-warmest winter. Washington D.C. also recorded its third-warmest winter, with an average temperature of 43.8 degrees.
In Boston, this winter will finish as the fifth-warmest. The average temperature during the last three months was 35.6 degrees. This is what the average high should be in mid-January, typically the coldest time of the year.
While the East saw a warmer-than-average winter, the Northwest saw conditions that were much colder than average.
Portland, Oregon, experienced its fifth-coldest winter on record, with an average temperature of only 37 degrees. This is equivalent to its average low in late February.
In Pendleton, Oregon, it was the third-coldest winter on record. The average temperature was just 28.4 degrees.
Farther south in Burns, Oregon, the second-coldest winter was recorded; the average temperature topped out at a whopping 18.6 degrees. The coldest winter on record there was in 1992-93, when the average temperature was only 17.6 degrees.
Sacramento recorded its wettest winter on record, with 21.78 inches of rainfall, breaking the previous record of 20.65 inches set in 1955-56. The average over an entire year is 17.64 inches, and Sacramento picked up over four inches more in just three months.
This is also a big difference from the past few years; last winter, only 8.01 inches of rainfall fell in California’s capital city.
The dots in green indicate a top-5 wettest winter (December-February) and the dots in yellow are where winter was a top-5 driest.
The one piece of good news is that the rainfall in California helped reduce drought conditions in the Golden State.
It was also the wettest winter on record in Reno, Nevada, with 10.20 inches of rain measured from December through February. This far surpasses the previous record of 8.36 inches in 1955-56.
The nearby Sierra Nevada mountains were buried in feet of snowfall, with Mammoth Mountain setting a new snowfall record for any month in January: 245.5 inches, or just over 20 feet of snow. Their season total is now up to 512 inches – nearly 43 feet of snow.
In the South, San Antonio, Texas, saw its fourth-wettest winter, with 12.55 inches of rain reported. Farther east along the Gulf Coast, Pensacola, Florida, measured 24.97 inches of rain, the third-wettest winter for that city.
Parts of the upper Midwest also had very wet winters. In Rochester, Minnesota, it was the wettest winter on record, with 5.85 inches of precipitation. The previous record was 5.47 inches in 1887-88.
It was also tied for the wettest winter on record in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where 6.16 inches of precipitation was reported. Wausau, Wisconsin, also had its wettest winter on record, with 6.60 inches of precipitation.
On the other end of the spectrum, Columbia, Missouri, recorded its fifth-driest winter, with only 2.23 inches of precipitation. It was the fourth-driest winter in Springfield, Illinois, where 2.38 inches of precipitation fell.