Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winter 2011-12 Summary

University of Waterloo Weather Station Summary - Winter 2011/2012

The warmest winter ever

I think the headline says it all, at almost 5 degrees above average it was the warmest winter we have seen since records began in the area almost 100 years ago.  This was about half a degree more than the previous warmest winter of 1931-32.

The heat was also consistent with every month of the season well above average.  The last week of winter felt more like summer with temperatures around 20 degrees higher than average.

The longest streak of below zero temperature was for 4 days, this is quite a contrast to last year when between January 1st and February 13th it only went above zero for a single day.

Not much to say about the precipitation, the total of 158.3 mm was not that far off of the average of 189.3 mm.  It was wetter at the beginning of the winter and started to get drier in the second half.

During the winter we had 71 cm of snow (note that this is not the total for the entire snowfall season which is longer) compared to the average of 103 cm.  I think it seemed like a lot less as any snow we did have didn’t last very long.

In the end of winter poll done on the UW weather station blog, a total of 271 people showed that it was very polarizing winter.  A total of 43% called it either a great or good winter while 40% thought it was bad or a total washout.

Summary for Winter 2011/2012:
Maximum Temperature  22.2°C
Minimum Temperature -18.3°C
Average Daily High Temperature 3.0°C (Long term average -1.5°C)
Average Daily Low Temperature -4.7°C  (Long term average -9.9°C)
Total Precipitation 158.3 mm (Long term average 189.3 mm)

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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Records so far in March

There will probably be some more all time records once the month comes to an end, but this streak of hot weather is really unique in our history for March.  Assuming we get to the forecasted temperatures for the next few days here are some records ready to fall:

The highest March temperature I was able to find was 26.1°C on March 26, 1945.  We may get higher than that on both Wednesday and Thursday.

The longest streak of days over 20 degrees was 4 also back in 1945, we may get to 7 in a row.

At 23.5°C we have already seen the highest March temperature since March 8th, 2000 when it was 24.0°C (and the winning day of the very first weather station contest).

So we shall see how hot it actually gets over the next few days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Winter 2011-2012 poll

We are probably going to only have a half of the snow of a typical winter and nobody has to tell you that it was a lot warmer than average.

But overall what did you think of the winter this year?

Cast your vote in the UW weather station winter 2010-2011 poll here.

Voting ends the first day of spring!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Warm spell ahead

The forecast for the area now has 7 days in a row of temperatures above 15 degrees.  I was not able to find this happening in the historical record for March.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

February 2012 summary

The second warmest February on record with just barely average precipitation

Sorry to keep repeating myself, but yet another very warm month that was 4.5 degrees higher than average.  This makes it the second warmest February since records began in the area almost 100 years ago, and just a few tenths of a degree cooler than 1998 which was the warmest.  This is now the 11th month in a row with above average temperatures.

It was the second warmest meteorological winter (Dec-Jan-Feb) just beating 2001-2002, but a full degree off of the record which was back in 1931-32.  We will see how it stacks up against other astronomical winters in a few weeks.

It was the first month since August that we had less than average precipitation, but with 2.7 mm on the leap day of February 29th it put the month just barely into the average range.

Even with the warm weather the amount of snow that fell during the month (25 cm) was not that far below average (30.6 cm).  The total for the snowfall season has been 76 cm which is a little less than half of the average total of 160 cm.

Summary for February 2012:
Maximum Temperature 7.8°C
Minimum Temperature -14.6°C
Average Daily High Temperature 1.4°C (Long term average –2.0°C)
Average Daily Low Temperature -5.2°C (Long term average -10.7°C)
Total Precipitation 34.4 mm (Long term average 51.3 mm)

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

Monday, March 5, 2012

Website is having problems

I can't put this on the homepage so I'll put it here.  There are some internet problems with the University and as a result the weather station homepage is stuck at 2 am Sunday morning if you can connect to it at all.

Hopefully it will be resolved soon, but it is out of my hands.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Windiest day in 10 years

At 2:30 am on the morning of March 3rd the wind speed peaked at an 42 km/h (note that this is not the highest wind gust, but rather the average wind speed over the 15 minute measurement period).

This is the highest average wind speed since March 9th, 2002.  OK actually not quite 10 years but close enough.

Looking at historical records I found it interesting that although the windiest average month is January, a lot of the extreme wind records actually occur during the month of March.  This includes the highest wind gust at the Waterloo Wellington airport of 120 km/h on March 30, 1981.