National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Storm Moving through the South; Pacific Storm to Impact the West this Weekend

A storm is expected to develop over the southern High Plains today and track to the Mid-Atlantic through Friday with showers and thunderstorms. On the northern edge, snow, ice, and/or a wintry mix is possible over the central Plains. A significant storm is expected to arrive late Friday through the weekend with rain, heavy mountain snow, and gusty winds for much of the West. Read More >

2006 Winter Summary

 

THE WINTER OF 2005/2006 ON AVERAGE WAS MUCH WARMER THAN NORMAL WITH
BELOW NORMAL SNOWFALL. THERE WERE A FEW PERIODS OF COLD...MOST
NOTABLY THE FIRST HALF OF DECEMBER WHEN TEMPERATURES WERE WELL BELOW
NORMAL WITH FREQUENT SNOWFALL. FEBRUARY ALSO HAD A FEW BRIEF COLD
SNAPS...BUT BY IN LARGE THE PERIOD FROM LATE DECEMBER THROUGH THE
END OF FEBRUARY WAS QUITE WARM. THE LACK OF SNOW WAS MOST NOTICEABLE
SOUTHEAST OF LAKE MICHIGAN WHERE NO SIGNIFICANT LAKE EFFECT SNOW
EVENTS OCCURRED. NORMALLY THIS AREA FROM SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN
INTO NORTHWEST INDIANA EXPERIENCES FREQUENT LAKE EFFECT SNOWS. DUE
TO THE UNUSUAL WARMTH...LAKE EFFECT SNOW WAS SCARCE. TOTAL SNOWFALL
FOR THE WINTER WAS LESS THAN HALF OF NORMAL IN THE TRADITIONAL
SNOWBELTS OF NORTHWEST INDIANA AND SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN.
ELSEWHERE ACROSS THE REGION SNOWFALL WAS ALSO BELOW NORMAL...BUT NOT
AS DRAMATICALLY SO.

THE EARLY ONSET OF VERY COLD TEMPERATURES IN DECEMBER WAS BROUGHT
ABOUT BY A DEEP TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE DEVELOPING OVER THE EASTERN
HALF OF NORTH AMERICA. AT THE SAME TIME...A LARGE RIDGE OF HIGH
PRESSURE DEVELOPED ALONG THE WEST COAST. IN THIS CONFIGURATION COLD
AIR FROM THE POLAR REGIONS OF CANADA IS DIRECTED INTO THE EASTERN
HALF OF THE UNITED STATES ON NORTHWEST WINDS...AND THE LARGE RIDGE
OF HIGH PRESSURE IN THE WEST PREVENTS MILD PACIFIC AIR FROM TAKING
OVER. THIS PATTERN CHANGED DRAMATICALLY BY LATE DECEMBER AS THE
RIDGE ALONG THE WEST COAST OF NORTH AMERICA BROKE DOWN. WITHOUT THIS
WALL IN PLACE...THE NATION WAS FLOODED WITH AIR OF PACIFIC
ORIGIN...WHICH IS MUCH MORE MILD THAN IS TYPICAL IN THE WINTER. AN
UNUSUALLY STRONG JET STREAM EMANATING OFF THE ASIAN CONTINENT AND
EXTENDING ACROSS THE PACIFIC OCEAN KEPT THE SUPPLY OF PACIFIC AIR
GOING AND PREVENTED THE MORE TYPICAL WEST COAST RIDGE FROM
RE-FORMING. THIS IS THE PRIMARY REASON FOR THE VERY MILD
TEMPERATURES AND LACK OF SNOWFALL. COLD AIR IS WHAT CAUSES LAKE
EFFECT SNOW...AND WITHOUT THE COLD AIR...THE NORMALLY SNOWY
LOCATIONS DOWNWIND OF LAKE MICHIGAN WHERE LEFT WITH WELL BELOW
NORMAL SNOWFALL.

THE FOLLOWING IS THE CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA FOR SOUTH BEND AND FORT
WAYNE FOR THE WINTER. METEOROLOGICAL WINTER IS DEFINED AS THE THREE
MONTHS OF DECEMBER...JANUARY...AND FEBRUARY. OFFICIAL RECORDS IN
SOUTH BEND DATE BACK TO 1940 AND FORT WAYNE OFFICIAL RECORDS DATE
BACK TO 1911.


...SOUTH BEND...

THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE WINTER MONTHS WAS 29.5 DEGREES. THIS
IS 3.0 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. IN DECEMBER THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR
THE MONTH WAS 24.0 DEGREES WHICH IS 4.7 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. THE
COLDEST TEMPERATURES IN DECEMBER OCCURRED DURING THE FIRST HALF OF
THE MONTH. IN FACT...THE FIRST 15 DAYS OF DECEMBER WAS ONE OF THE
COLDEST ON RECORD. THE SECOND HALF OF THE MONTH MODERATED HOWEVER
AND REMOVED SOME OF THE NEGATIVE DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL. THAT WARMING
TREND CONTINUED INTO JANUARY...WHICH WAS THE WARMEST ON RECORD AT
35.8 DEGREES. THIS IS AN ASTONISHING 12.4 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. THE
WARMTH CONTINUED INTO FEBRUARY...ALTHOUGH NOT NEARLY AS EXTREME. THE
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR FEBRUARY WAS 28.8 DEGREES WHICH IS 1.5
DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. AFTER A COLD START IN EARLY DECEMBER...THE
HEART OF WINTER WAS NOT VERY WINTER-LIKE WITH MILD TEMPERATURES AND
VERY LITTLE SNOWFALL.

THE TOTAL LIQUID EQUIVALENT PRECIPITATION FOR THE THREE MONTH PERIOD
WAS 5.61 INCHES...WHICH IS 1.73 INCHES BELOW NORMAL. JANUARY WAS THE
ONLY MONTH WHICH HAD ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION...AND THIS BROKE A
STREAK OF 11 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS OF BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION FROM
FEBRUARY 2005 THROUGH DECEMBER 2005. SNOWFALL FOR THE WINTER MONTHS
WAS LESS THAN HALF OF NORMAL WITH A TOTAL OF 28.4 INCHES WHICH IS
29.5 INCHES BELOW NORMAL. THIS RANKS AS THE 8TH LEAST SNOWY WINTER
ON RECORD. DECEMBER WAS ONLY SLIGHTLY BELOW NORMAL WITH 19.1 INCHES
OF SNOW WHICH IS 0.1 INCHES BELOW NORMAL. MOST OF THIS SNOW FELL
DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE MONTH...IN FACT THE FIRST 16 DAYS OF
THE MONTH A TRACE OR MORE OF SNOW WAS RECORDED EVERY DAY. FOR THE
SECOND HALF OF DECEMBER THROUGH ALL OF JANUARY AND FEBRUARY VERY
LITTLE SNOW FELL. THE MONTHS OF JANUARY AND FEBRUARY COMBINED FOR
ONLY 9.3 INCHES OF SNOW...WHICH IS A WHOPPING 29.4 INCHES BELOW
NORMAL.

...SOUTH BEND STATISTICS...

MONTH        AVERAGE      NORMAL      DEPARTURE

...TEMPERATURE...

DECEMBER      24.0              28.7                    -4.7
JANUARY           35.8             23.4                 +12.4
FEBRUARY        28.8            27.3                    +1.5
WINTER             29.5             26.5                    +3.0

...PRECIPITATION...

DECEMBER      1.79            3.09                   -1.30
JANUARY           2.87            2.27                  +0.60
FEBRUARY       0.95            1.98                   -1.03
WINTER             5.61            7.34                   -1.73

...SNOWFALL...

DECEMBER      19.1          19.2                       -0.1
JANUARY            3.4           23.2                    -19.8
FEBRUARY         5.9          15.5                       -9.6
WINTER            28.4           57.9                    -29.5


...FORT WAYNE...

THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE WINTER MONTHS WAS 30.2 DEGREES WHICH
IS 3.6 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. IN DECEMBER THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE WAS
24.0 DEGREES WHICH IS 5.0 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. THE COLDEST
TEMPERATURES IN DECEMBER OCCURRED DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE
MONTH. IN FACT...THE FIRST 15 DAYS OF DECEMBER WAS ONE OF THE
COLDEST ON RECORD. THE SECOND HALF OF THE MONTH MODERATED HOWEVER
AND REMOVED SOME OF THE NEGATIVE DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL. THAT WARMING
TREND CONTINUED INTO JANUARY...WHICH WAS THE WARMEST ON RECORD AT
36.9 DEGREES. THIS IS AN ASTONISHING 13.3 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. THE
WARMTH CONTINUED INTO FEBRUARY...ALTHOUGH NOT NEARLY AS EXTREME. THE
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR FEBRUARY WAS 29.8 DEGREES WHICH IS 2.5
DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. AFTER A COLD START IN EARLY DECEMBER...THE
HEART OF WINTER WAS NOT VERY WINTER-LIKE WITH MILD TEMPERATURES AND
VERY LITTLE SNOWFALL.

THE TOTAL LIQUID EQUIVALENT PRECIPITATION FOR THE THREE MONTH PERIOD
WAS 6.81 INCHES...WHICH IS 0.05 INCHES ABOVE NORMAL. SNOWFALL FOR
THE WINTER MONTHS WAS BELOW NORMAL...BUT NOT AS DRAMATICALLY AS
SOUTH BEND. THE TOTAL SNOWFALL WAS 22.6 INCHES...WHICH IS 3.2 INCHES
BELOW NORMAL. DECEMBER WAS THE SNOWIEST MONTH WITH 15.8 INCHES WHICH
IS 7.5 INCHES ABOVE NORMAL. IN FACT...FOR THE FIRST 16 DAYS OF
DECEMBER A TRACE OR MORE OF SNOW FELL ON EVERY DAY EXCEPT ONE. FOR
THE SECOND HALF OF DECEMBER AND ALL OF JANUARY AND FEBRUARY VERY
LITTLE SNOW FELL. JANUARY AND FEBRUARY COMBINED FOR ONLY 6.8 INCHES
OF SNOW...WHICH IS 10.7 INCHES BELOW NORMAL.

...FORT WAYNE STATISTICS...

MONTH        AVERAGE      NORMAL      DEPARTURE

...TEMPERATURE...

DECEMBER      24.0              29.0                   -5.0
JANUARY           36.9              23.6               +13.3
FEBRUARY        29.8              27.3                 +2.5
WINTER             30.2               26.6                 +3.6

...PRECIPITATION...

DECEMBER      2.16               2.77                -0.61
JANUARY           3.01              2.05               +0.96
FEBRUARY       1.64               1.94                -0.30
WINTER             6.81               6.76               +0.05

...SNOWFALL...

DECEMBER      15.8                 8.3                +7.5
JANUARY             2.0                 9.9                 -7.9
FEBRUARY         4.8                  7.6                 -2.8
WINTER            22.6                25.8                 -3.2

$$

HITCHCOCK