Saturday, March 20, 2010

Winter 2009/2010 Summary

A warm winter with very little snow

Although the first months of the winter were only slightly warmer than average, the extremely warm temperatures of March made the entire season much hotter than average. Overall the temperature was 1.5 degrees higher than average, this makes it the warmest winter since 2005/2006 and the 3rd warmest of the last 10 years.

Also significant is that there weren't really any extended cold snaps. To put some numbers on it, we never had more than 2 days in a row when the temperature was more than 5 degrees below average. The last time we had a winter like that was back in the winter of 2001-2002.

But the real story of this past season was probably the lack of precipitation, in particular snow. We got 113.2 mm of precipitation (this is a combination of rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, and whatever else nature threw at us) compared to an average of 184.5 mm, so that's about two thirds of the average.

Unfortunately when it comes to snow, considering only the amounts during the 3 months of winter doesn't really tell the entire story. For now, I'll just say that for the winter season we only had 54 cm of snow which is about half of the average and the lowest since the winter of 1981/82. The full story will come after the end of the snowfall season, which goes until there is no reasonable expectation of any more snow (probably sometime in April).

An unscientific poll done on the UW weather station blog revealed that although most people thought the winter was great (38%), there were still a good number (21%) that wanted a real winter. I had a feeling it would be a polarizing kind of winter that either you really liked or really hated.

Final poll tally: Great 87 (38%), Good 40 (17%), OK 34 (15%), Bad 17 (7%), Washout 48 (21%), total number of votes: 226.

Summary for Winter 2009/2010:
Maximum Temperature 16.9°C
Minimum Temperature -21.5°C
Average Daily High Temperature -0.3°C (Long term average -1.4°C)
Average Daily Low Temperature -8.0°C (Long term average -9.8°C)
Total Precipitation 113.2 mm (Long term average 184.5 mm)

(Long term averages based on 1971-2000 data for the Waterloo Wellington Airport)

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