Clues from a past winter may offer insight into this winter

For those of you who regularly follow the blog, you know I’ve been talking quite a bit about the winter of 1911-1912. That’s because so many records from that winter fell last night. Records that were 108 years old have been broken. In many instances, those records were shattered.

In the November of 1911 cold snap, many places went from very warm weather to bitter, dangerously cold weather. The change happened abruptly. Sound familiar? One minute we’re warm and nice and the next minute we’re dealing with morning temps flirting with single digits. Where was the transition?

The cold snap in November 1911 was followed by a milder December for the country. That mild weather was a welcome relief after such a chilly November.

For what it’s worth, long range outlooks currently show milder weather for the month of December for much of the country.

January of 1912 was rough. In fact, it was one of the coldest Januarys on record for the US. The poor folks in Minneapolis, Minnesota endured 186 straight hours of temps below zero degrees. Ouch. They had a brief warm-up before plunging below zero again for 121 hours straight. That arctic air moved south and plunged the Deep South into a deep freeze. It was quite remarkable.

Then, February was alright. It was chilly but nothing compared to the bitter, bitter cold that January had brought.

Then, March came. The winter of 1911-1912 was well known for the bitter cold start in November, the bitter cold middle in January, and the spectacular ending in March. Up until March, the winter had been rather free of big winter storms. That changed in March. The country was raked by widespread, heavy snows and cold air. Some of that heavy snow even made it’s way into the South.

I was looking at daily weather maps from that year and was surprised to see so many Gulf and East Coast storms affecting the country. It was a very active March!

Interestingly, the winter of 1911-1912 prompted farmers to come up with better ways to protect crops against frost and freeze. This was due to the heavy losses of citrus in California from freezing conditions.

It will be interesting to see how our winter compares with the winter of 1911-1912. In the two years with Halloween snows, we had terrible Februarys. With this analysis of the winter of 1911, it looks like February might be alright. I guess we’ll wait and see!

I always say this of the winter, just prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But, while you’re hoping for the best be sure and wish for big snows! (ha)


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