How unusual is our roller coaster winter?

It doesn’t take an exceptional attention span to realize that this year’s cold season (starting in November) has been very changeable.

November was 6.1 degrees colder than normal, then December was surprisingly mild (5.8 degrees above normal). As of Thursday — mid-month — January has been 8.5 degrees below normal.

Thus far we have had only 14.9 inches of snow and every month has been substantially drier than normal as well.

This is shaping up to be a very unusual winter in many respects. After a relative warm up, forecast models are suggesting a return to very cold temperatures as we approach the end of January. We suspect this will be enough to keep the monthly average temperature below the normal for January.

Though there is really no way to accurately forecast the monthly average for February, experimental forecasts made by the Climate Prediction Center, issued Thursday, predict a 50-50 chance for a normal February in Wisconsin.

Though detailed records are not immediately available, anecdotally it has been at least 20 years since a cold season has flipped from below normal to above normal in consecutive months from November to February. There is some chance that this will be such a year.

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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