Category Archives: Climate

Has March been a bit unusual so far?

It has been a fairly benign first two weeks of March for those of us in southern Wisconsin.

Through the first 11 days of the month, we have averaged 6.2 degrees above normal. In fact, in the nearly three weeks since Feb. 22 — when we had this season’s maximum snow depth of 16 inches in Madison — we have averaged the same 6.2 degrees above normal. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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What is special about March weather?

March 1 marks the beginning of spring and kicks off an active and variable weather season. Flooding, temperature swings, tornados and snowstorms are all common springtime weather events.

A flood occurs when water flows into a region faster than it can be absorbed into the soil, stored in a lake or reservoir, or removed in runoff or a waterway into a drainage basin. In early spring, the ground can still be frozen and so cannot absorb the precipitation. Rain and melting snow will instead flow into rivers causing springtime flooding. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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How severe was the Northern Hemisphere winter this year?

Today is March 1 so the meteorological winter (December-January-February) is over.

The areal extent of air colder than minus 23 degrees at about 1 mile above the ground throughout December through February is one way of comparing the severity of the Northern Hemisphere winter from one year to the next. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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When does the last deep cold spell of the winter usually come?

As we all work to recover from our recent cold spell, the natural question is: Are we done with bitter cold for the winter?

If we use an overnight low temperature at or below zero as the definition of a cold spell, then 41 of the 81 winters since 1939-40 have seen a cold spell after Feb. 22 — that’s 50.6% of the time. In fact, in 1982 the last zero-degree or colder night was not until April 2, the latest date in the last 81 years. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons, Severe Weather

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How is the ice cover on the Great Lakes?

Until this recent frigid arctic air outbreak, the Great Lakes were experiencing one of the mildest winters on record National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitors and reports on the ice coverage of the Great Lakes. NOAA reports total coverage … Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Phenomena, Seasons, Uncategorized

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