The winter of 2013-2014 will go down as one to remember, although we did not break any all-time records locally in terms of snowfall totals or record cold. Take a look at what we “typically” deal with an an “average winter:
This year was different, and while large scale phenomenon like the Arctic or North Atlantic Oscillations, La Nina/El Nino usually play a role, these factors didn’t play a big part. The big part was played by a pool of strongly above average ocean water south of Alaska, and west of the Pacific Northwest. The graphic below shows how this area of water was so important to our (and the nation’s) weather:
Taking a look at temperatures, we were well below average and a long way from the mild winter of 2011-2012 and the mostly mild (until the end) winter of 2012-2013. 65-68% of the days of the season were below average. Temperatures fell to or below 32 92% of all days in Kansas City and 83% of all days in St. Louis. Additionally, 11 days were at or below zero in KC and 5 in St. Louis. It has been a cold 13 months overall across the region with only short warm periods early and late in last summer.
Even though snow was above average, water equivalent was not, thanks to the dry fluffy nature of the snow. Extreme SE Missouri and S Illinois did get heavy rains in mid December, but measurable precipitation only fell on 20 days (22% of all days) in Kansas City and 25 days (27% of all days) in St. Louis.
Snowfall was above average and in addition to enduring many smaller snow events, major winter storms moved through almost like clockwork once per month. Check out the regional snowfall map as compared to the average snowfall map.
Despite the above average snow, we did not make the top ten list in either city (so far).
Another way to look at winter is to see the number of winter storm & wind chill warnings/advisories were issued. Check out the difference in the wind chill warnings issued this season compared to last year. The cold has almost iced over the Great Lakes as well.