Officially, winter's over
For some people, the winter of 2012-13 may seem like one of those long, dreary versions that Mother Nature delivers occasionally.
But, according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh and AccuWeather in State College, that's really not the case.
Brad Rehak of the National Weather Service said that December, when winter technically begins with the winter solstice, and January were actually warmer than usual. But February and March evened things out.
“Since February, we've had a low pressure system sitting over the northeastern U.S.,” Rehak said. “It hasn't been there solid. It kind of moves out for a while, and then it settles back in.”
He said it's the low pressure system in the upper level of the atmosphere that steers the jet streams and blocks warmer air from coming in.
“It's chilly, but we really haven't broken any record lows,” Rehak said. “We haven't broken a record low since July of 2009.”
“It's just a cold March,” he continued. “I think people think Marches are generally better than they are. But around here, spring usually doesn't start until April.”
Steve Travis of AccuWeather said the company's meteorologists were certain the winter would be cooler than last year's. But that wasn't how it went in early through mid-December.
“As it got to the end of December, near Christmas, things started to turn more chilly,” Travis said. “If you throw out three or four days near the end of January, January was colder than last year. January had far more days that were below average than above average.”
Travis said forecasters expected March's weather to be normal, but it hasn't worked out that way.
“The way March is going in terms of departure from average, March may turn out to be the coldest month of the winter.”
Rehak said March is frequently cold, but people may be looking back at last March and expecting a reprise of that balmy weather.
“We had an 11-day span from the 13th to the 23rd where the temperature was 70 degrees or higher,” Rehak said. “So when you compare it to this year, its about 40 degrees colder.”
As for snowfall, Rehak and Travis said the region is more or less around normal for the winter, which is around 40 inches.
Travis said snowfall in the Pittsburgh region has turned out to be what his colleagues expected.
“It looked like what we were going to see further west around Pittsburgh and the Great Lakes was a series of clipper systems that were going to come in and dump a few inches here and there,” he said.
”We got nickeled and dimed a lot,” Rehak agreed. “We got to 50 inches one or two inches at a time rather than in big chunks.”
According to National Weather Service readings, there was at least a trace of snow on all but 13 days combined in February and March so far. He said the additional snowfall was “no big deal.” And although he believes it will remain cold for the rest of the month, he doesn't think there will be much more snow.
Travis was more cautious.
“The pattern that we're in certainly would caution us from closing the book on winter,” Travis said, “at least for the next 10 days or so.”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Keystone Markers give insights about towns but have fallen victim to time, theft or traffic accidents
- United Way Impact Fund Grants to award $445K to 26 Butler County nonprofits
- ‘Wax weed’ worries authorities
- State store relocates to Highlands Mall
- Freeport VFW initiates its ‘monumental project’
- Plum landslide to be fixed after year
- Soggy conditions don’t deter people from Springdale jubilee
- Saxonburg residents surprised by zoning proposal
- Pyrotechnics display turns from benefit to burden in Tarentum
- Man who threatened to jump from Tarentum Bridge in custody
- Alle-Kiski Valley seniors get free lift to doctor’s office