WeatherWorks Winter Forecast Foreshadows Cold & Snowy Midwest

Posted: March 4, 2014, 4:16 pm by ntroiano


It has been no secret that this winter has featured harsh conditions for those in the snow and ice industry. From record-breaking cold temperatures to a seemingly endless onslaught of snow, this winter has seen it all. With that being said, these conditions should have not come as a complete surprise. The WeatherWorks Full Winter Outlook issued back on October 18, 2013 captured the finer details of the forecast with overwhelming accuracy - in terms of both temperature and snowfall departures. Verification or observed conditions during the December 1st through February 28th time period are depicted below for reference.

Note how extreme cold conditions gripped much of the Midwest and Northeast during the 3-month period. In general, departures ranged from 6 to more than 10 degrees below average across the Ohio Valley, Midwest and Upper Plains States. Specifically speaking, both Chicago and Rockford, Illinois saw their 3rd coldest winters on record…with average readings of 18.8 and 14.6 degrees, respectively. Indianapolis, Indiana was not far behind – seeing their 8th coldest winter on record, with an average reading of just 24.2 degrees. Further north, the cold was even more severe - with places such as Duluth, MN seeing their second coldest winter on record, with an average temperature of nearly 3 degrees below zero!

Along with the cold there was plenty of snow to go around for almost all areas. Chicago experienced their 3rd snowiest winter (December through February) on record, with 67.3 inches accumulated through February 28th. It missed second place by just 3 inches, which was set back in 1977-78. Indianapolis fared even better (or worse), seeing their largest meteorological winter snow accumulation on record – with 52.3 inches. Perhaps the most impressive seasonal snowfall figure belongs to Detroit, Michigan - where 83.8 inches of the white stuff has fallen so far this winter season. This figure is 2nd all-time for city and is less than ten inches shy of the snowiest season in recorded history (1880-81). For more statistics on the cold and snowy conditions across the Midwest during the last three months refer to our side-bar article.

As can be seen from the maps above, WeatherWorks captured this idea quite accurately. These images were included in the official WeatherWorks Winter Forecast and were available to all our clients by the third week in October 2013. Note the large and expansive area of below normal temperatures that were highlighted across the Midwest, Northeast and New England. The highest likelihood of occurrence specifically targeted the Upper Plains and Midwest (darkest shading of blue), where this winter ended up ranking within the top-5 coldest for numerous locations. The snowfall outlook proved even more useful for those who work in the snow and ice industry. The threat for above average snowfall was assigned region-wide, with parts of northern Illinois and Wisconsin particularly highlighted for much above average accumulations. 

Could your company benefit from this kind of insight more than one to two months in advance? Contact Kevin Hopler to sign up or upgrade your service package today! If you are interested in more than seasonal outlooks, be sure to ask about one of our more detailed products such as Winter Risk – where we provide week by week forecasts up to a month in advance in order to increase your company’s bottom line!

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