With all of this talk of the unseasonably mild temperatures, so far, this winter, how does winter 2011/2012 compare to previous winters?
We're just a few days into February and still talking about the milder than average temperatures. So far, all days in February have been above the 37° high/low average. Take a look at how much warmer than average temperatures were across much of the Eastern U.S. on Monday.
Winter 2011/2012 (using the meteorological winter start date - Dec.1st), as of February 6th, has been above average. Here's a chart that shows where temperatures stand.
Keep in mind, this data is only through February 6th. Through this date, Reagan National is 5.7° warmer than average. What's the average? An average winter in D.C. is 38.2°. If February ended today, it would be the third warmest winter with an average of 43.9°. The warmest winter in D.C. history was in 1932 with an average of 44.6°.
Obviously, February is not close to being over, so we've still got some time to go before we know where this winter will fall in comparison to others. But let's have some fun and see what it would take for this to be the warmest winter ever!
As of Feb. 6th, February is 7° warmer than average. Let's say February ends 5° warmer than average. It would tie as the third warmest winter with an average of 43.2° (set back in 2002). For second place, in the warmest winter contest, February will have to end 8.4° above average.
So for winter 2011/2012 to be the warmest year on record, February would have to be... drumroll, please... 9.4° warmer than average. Is this possible? Well, anything's possible. In fact, the warmest February on record was actually 9.6° above average back in 1976. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, there's a 40% chance temperatures will be above average in February.
It looks like we'll just have to wait and see how February ends. We still have 22 days left to go in February (yes, 22 -- it's a leap year!).