Winter statistics wrap-up
Posted April 8, 2013
We're finally feeling more springlike (with a touch of summer-ish weather on tap for midweek) after a very cool March and beginning to April, but how did we do through the winter that we finished off at the end of February? It turns out to have a been a moderately warm winter overall, with a relative dearth of snowfall but pretty typical amounts of precipitation, at least at the Raleigh-Durham airport.
For the three-month period December through February, considered "winter" for climate record-keeping purposes, the RDU airport ended up with an average high temperature of 55.0 degrees, while the average low was 35.8. This all resulted in a mean temperature for the winter of 45.4 degrees, which was 3.5 degrees above the average winter temperature for the entire 69-year period of record, and the 9th warmest reading amongst those 69 years. It's also 2.1 degrees cooler than the warmest winter on record at RDU, which occurred in 1948-49.
As for precipitation, we ended the three months with a winter total of 10.12 inches, which isn't very far off from the 69-year average of 9.8 inches. However, the warm temperatures helped tilt most of that into the form of rainfall, with only 1.7 inches of snow for the winter, compared to the long-term average of 5.4 inches. In 69 years of observations there, 22 other winters have had lower snowfall amounts.
Looking ahead, we've switched to a warmer regime compared to the one we started April with, and while there could be some ups and downs along the way, the trend for the next couple of weeks appears to lean warmer than normal, and that's reflected in the Climate Prediction Center temperature map for April, shown above, that indicates at least a modest chance for the month as a whole to end up above normal. That would be a sizable change from March, which brought our area the 5th-coldest average temperatures in 69 years...