The tallies are just about in – this winter was a warm one.
I use the past tense because today marks the end of what is known as meteorological winter. The term is typically defined as the coldest three months of the year during which wintry weather is considered normal.
The winter has been mild, to be sure. As of Feb. 27, the region was one day away from breaking a record for most winter days averaging 50 degrees or warmer, as meteorologists predicted might happen in this story by Sun reporter Steve Kilar. The average temperature for the month stood at 41.4 degrees, while the norm is just 35.8 degrees.
For the meteorological winter, from Dec. 1 through the end of February, the average temperature is likely to end up smack between 40 degrees and 41 degrees. That should place the winter of 2011-2012 No. 6 on the all-time list for the Baltimore area.
Here’s the unofficial breakdown of the region’s mildest meteorological winters on record:
- 1931-1932 – 45.3 degrees
- 1889-1890 – 43.9 degrees
- 1948-1949 – 42.3 degrees
- (tie) 1879-1880 – 42 degrees
1949-1950 – 42 degrees
- 1932-1933 – 40.8 degrees
- 2011-2012 – 40.6 degrees (expected, as of Feb. 27)
- 1936-1937 – 40.3 degrees
- 1997-1998 – 40.3 degrees
- 2001-2002 – 40.2 degrees
- 1912-1913 -- 40.1 degrees
Of course, Baltimoreans measure the harshness of winter not just in mercury but in snowflakes. As you would expect, this winter ranks among the lightest in terms of snowfall as well. With zero snow in December, 1.3 inches in January and half an inch in February, the grand total of 1.8 inches should rank third-lowest among Baltimore winter snow totals. As you might expect, some seasons overlap on both lists.
- 1949-1950 – 0.7 inches
- 1972-1973 – 1.2 inches
- 2011-2012 – 1.8 inches (expected, as of Feb. 27)
- 2001-2002 – 2.3 inches
- 1997-1998 – 3.2 inches
Consider this post a challenge for a March blizzard. Early March weather is of course known for its likeness to a lion. Stay tuned for a post of its own on that.