It may seem hard to believe, but spring is officially less than a week away – March 20, 2014. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spent some time analyzing the winter weather from December 2013 to February 2014. As suspected, the U.S. experienced a colder and drier than average winter, with a few notable exceptions.
The average temperature for the continuous U.S. during this period was 31.3°F, a full degree cooler than the 20th century average, making it the coldest winter on record since 2009-10.
And despite regionally heavy snow (Chicago, for example, had one of the top three snowiest winters on record), overall total winter precipitation across the entire U.S. was well below average, making it the driest winter on record since 2001-02.
Other winter weather highlights include:
• Below-average temperatures east of the Rockies, with the coldest conditions occurring across the Midwest.
• 91% of the Great Lakes were frozen by the beginning of March, which made it the second-largest ice cover since records began in 1973. Only the winter of 1978-79 saw greater Great Lakes ice cover.
• Above average temperatures dominated Florida and much of the West. California saw its warmest winter on record.
• Winter precipitation for the contiguous U.S. was the ninth driest on record. Areas that saw above-average precipitation included the Northern Rockies, along with parts of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
• Winter average snow cover extended across 1.42 million square miles, 170,000 square miles more than the 30 year average.
Click to view the full-sized map.
NOAA plans to release its spring weather and flood outlook on March 20.