What else can we say about the past winter?
As our remarkable winter winds down, (though it will remain cold through the end of March, according to most recent forecasts), a few of its additional characteristics are worthy of mention.
First, in Madison we just completed the fifth-longest streak of consecutive days with a snow depth of 1 inch or more — 99 days, from Dec. 9 to March 17. The all-time record streak is 118 days in 1978-79, although we came very close to tying that streak in our snowy winter of 2007-08, which had a 110-day streak.
For some perspective, the average number of days with 1 inch or more of snow cover in a Madison winter (not necessarily consecutive days!) is only 76. So, if you have had a nagging suspicion that we’ve seen snow for an unusually long time this winter, you were right.
This lingering snow is partly a function of this winter’s persistent cold, which we have mentioned a number of times in this column.
Perhaps less high profile, however, is that this winter had 45 days on which at least 0.1 inch of snow fell in Madison — the 13th-highest total of all time. The record for that category is 60 days during our snowy 2007-08 winter. There also was a recent third-place entry with 48 days in 2000-01, when 23 of those days occurred in December.
Finally, we endured 96 consecutive days between high temperatures at or above 50 degrees — from Dec. 4 (when the high was precisely 50) to March 10, when it finally soared to 57. In the past 43 winters, a streak that long has occurred only nine times. It appears that 1971-72 is the record holder with 113 consecutive days from November 18 to March 11.