|In February, all of the Lower 48 was warmer than normal|
except parts of the Pacific Northwest. Some areas in the
Midwest were as much as 10 to 15 degrees
warmer than average.
And I don't mean that in the traditonal cold sense of "winter."
Meteorologists and climatologists regard "winter" as the period from December 1 through February 28, so in that sense, winter is over. '
Here in Vermont, it was pretty much as extreme as they come.
February clinched it.
What with that amazing late month heat wave, the temperature in Burlington, Vermont for the month averaged 29.8 degrees, making it the second warmest February on record.
The hottest February was in 1981 with an average temperature of 32.9
The warm February, combined with a January that was tied for third warmest, plus a warmer than average December, means this winter in Burlington was the second warmest on record, with an average temperature of 29.5.
The warmest winter on record was just last year.
Before this winter started, I'd predicted that our just-ended meteorological winter would be colder than last winter because it couldn't possibly be warmer.
Incredibly, I was almost wrong.
Burlington, with records dating back to the mid-1800s now has the top four warmest winters all occuring since 2001-02, And now we have the top two warmest in consecutive years.
The incredible February heat last week in Vermont really put us over the top for the winter.
To review: Burlington last Saturday reached 72 degrees, the hottest February day on record and the hottest meteorological winter day on record. (The old record was, of course, set very recently, with a 68 degrees on December 24, 2015.
That 72 degree reading in Burlington tied the record for the hottest February reading anywhere in Vermont. The previous 72 was set in Bennington, just the day before on Friday.
Before that, the hottest temperature recorded anywhere in Vermont was 69 degrees.
Vermont, of course, wasn't the only hot spot in the nation either this past week or this past winter as a whole.
In addition to Vermont, the entire state of New Hampshire set its all time record high for February last Friday, with a high of 73 degrees in Nashua.
Oklahoma set it's state-wide February record high with 99 degrees in Magnum February 11. On February 22, Wisconsin set its all-tme February high temperature record with 72 degrees in Janesville and Boscobel.
In Canada, Nova Scotia had its all time February hottest day on record with 68 degrees in Greenwood on Saturday. Toronto had its all time hottest February day with 63 degrees on February 23.
I don't have complete data yet, but there will be several cities in the United States that had their warmest February on record. I'm also pretty sure several places will have had their hottest meteorological winter on record.
One of those places is Barrow, way up on the northern tip of Alaska. It's normally very cold up there, as you can imagine, and the average temperature for the winter of 2016-17 in Barrow was -2.1 degrees.
That's still 9.6 degrees warmer than average and good enough to establish 2016-`7 as - by far - the hottest winter on record.
Record heat back here in Vermont extended into today, the first day of meteorological spring. Burlington so far has reached 61 degrees, breaking the record high for the date by two degrees.
Montpelier reached 56 degrees today, breaking the old record of 53 degrees.
Though today was warm, don't count on continued warm weather. A sharp cold front is at our doorstep, and I expect we'll get the coldest weather at least since around February 10 Friday and Saturday.
Temperatures at night could reach 0 and highs will only be in the teens to around 20 Saturday.
That's definitely colder than normal for this time of year, but not scary unusual for early March.
Somewhat warmer weather is due next week, but nothing near the record heat we've had recently.