Monday, February 13, 2012

Washington's Warmest Winters: 2012 in Fifth Place, Fourth Feasible

PM Update, February 14: With today's high of 56° and low of 37° exceeding the 24-hour forecast by 8° and 5° respectively, the winter average temperature to date is holding at 42.7°.

Original post:
With a little over 2 weeks left in meteorological winter, Washington's current seasonal average temperature of 42.7° is now ahead of 1998 as the 5th warmest winter in records dating back to 1871. A projection of the final winter average based on the forecast temperatures for tomorrow through February 20 and climatological averages through the rest of the month would give a result of 42.5°, enough to still tie with 1998. If the temperature averages at least 3.7° above climatology for the 21st through the 29th, that would be enough to push the winter average to a tie with 1950 as the 4th warmest. Given that the month to date is averaging 4.6° above average so far, and the 8-14 day forecast indicates a nearly 50% chance of above-average temperatures (vs. a climatological expectation of 33%), this seems to be a feasible result.

The monthly averages and departures from climatology for the winter so far:
December 45.0° (+5.3°)
January 40.7° (+4.7°)
February 42.7° (+4.6°)
Image (click to enlarge): Washington's 10 warmest winters vs. 2011-12 average to date and projected through end of February, CapitalClimate chart from National Weather Service data

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.