End of Meteorological Winter

Officially on the calendar, the Vernal Equinox or first day of spring is not until March 20th.  However December, January, and February are considered Meteorological Winter, with March-May being that of Spring.  So with that in mind, the time has arrived to provide a recap of the winter that has been to this point in the season.  First off, let me lay out the stats for the three month period, including the mean temperature for each month and snowfall.

You will note that each month had below average temperatures.  The one minor exception is February, which fell just a little less than a half degree under the mark, which could be considered close to average.  As for snowfall, each month was above typical levels.  December & February featured our biggest snowstorms on December 10th-11th & February 20th-21st, both accumulating 13.5" in Wausau.  This equated to the 5th biggest snowstorms in a 2 day stretch in Wausau history and both events set records for their individual months.  For more on them, be sure to check out my past blogs.  As for the seasonal snowfall totals and number of days when the mercury went below zero, check out the graphic below.

It should be noted that we actually picked up 1.7" of snow in November, which is included in the total above.  So through the end of February we were sitting at 58.3" altogether.  No less, we will have an above average year in snow by the time the last flake hits the ground in Wausau.  The question is how much more is to come?  Only time will tell, but March tends to still be a favorable month for accumulation.  As for sub-zero lows in Wausau, you'll notice we ended up 9 days short of what we'd experience in an average winter season.  No less, the cold spells certainly left their mark through the last couple of months.

So the winter outlook forecast I made back in the fall for chillier than average temperatures along with at or somewhat above average snowfall held true.  Yes, this was a La Nina type winter weather pattern, however that trend did not stay true to form in other parts of the country.  This includes the Mid-Atlantic & Northeastern states, where for the second year in a row they got pounded by heavy snow on a number of occasions.

Unfortunately, with a sizable snow pack to be melted in the weeks ahead across the Upper Midwest, the table has been set for potential, if not likely flooding.  The folks back in the Dakotas and western Minnesota have been getting the sandbags ready since early February for the rise of the Red River this spring.  In addition, there will probably be a number of other rivers that run over their banks in Wisconsin and locations to our south.  In our case, the best scenario would be for a slow and steady snow melt without any heavy rainfall events.  No less, once river flood warnings come out, they could be in effect for a month or longer.  You will likely hear us talk more about this flood risk as we work through the months of March & April.

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