February 28th marked the end of meteorological winter. Of course, we all know it really isn’t the end of winter weather in east-central Ohio. We often still get snow and cold temperatures sometimes into April. But for record-keeping, the months of December, January, and February comprise the winter season.
So, how did we stack up? I’ve read a lot of moaning on groaning on social media about how some folks feel about the snow and cold. But, our perception of winter weather is often very different from the actual facts.
Before we can determine how this winter compares to others we need to have some sort of baseline to work with. We use climate averages to do that. Most folks consider only two factors in winter – snow, and temperature. So first, let’s establish what a normal winter looks like in the Valley for most:
Many are surprised by the low snow amounts here for an average winter. Remember, we’re only talking about the three months of meteorological winter. We often get heavy snowstorms in March and November as well and these are not included for our purposes today.
In all reality, temperature-wise this past winter has not been all that bad compared to recent years. It was actually warmer than average this winter here in the Valley by about 4°.
Snowfall is a bit of a problem in our area. The National Weather Service does not measure or track snowfall at the airport. I can’t say why. I’ll need to ask them sometime why they don’t but I suspect it’s because there is no one at the airport all the time to keep track of the snow. Fortunately, we have a local observer who kind of keeps a snow record close by at the Dennison Water Works. The records are a bit inconsistent, though.
This winter 19.3 inches of snow was recorded at Dennison. This is pretty close to our average of 18 inches. Yes, some communities received more snow than this but we really can’t make comparisons at every spot on the map. I picked Dennison because it’s the ONLY place I could find in the database that was even close to being regular for the last few years.
There is another way of looking at this. We can use precipitation as a baseline instead of snowfall. Our average precipitation in winter at New Philadelphia averages 7.6 inches. This includes snow that is melted and converted to liquid.
Precipitation recorded at the airport this winter amounted to 8.92 inches – essentially 9 inches. That would mean that this winter was wetter than average by around 2 inches. Remember – that number includes both RAIN and SNOW.