Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The 2013-2014 Winter Freeze

March 4th Update
During the newscast at 10pm this evening, I showcased the final stats that will go into the record book for Winter 2014. The following video shows that the Paducah area ranked 10th in both "coldest and "snowiest". The winter of 1978 was the benchmark for both and has reminded many of this winter's brutal cold and active weather pattern.

Thanks to Climate Central for the specialized graphics!
February 13th Update

Data collected by Jennifer Rukavina from the Paducah National Weather and the Kentucky Mesonet

February 11th Update

Meteorological Winter technically runs from Dec-Jan-Feb. We are closing in on the end of this season and wanted to give you a preliminary look at how December and January temperatures ranked across Western Kentucky.

  • December temperatures averaged out to pretty close to normal (compared to Barkley Regional data).

  • January temperatures finished up being well below normal.

To track the difference, identify the city that you are most interested in then look at how the blue (Dec) and red (Jan) bars then compare to the very last column on the right. "Climate Normal" is what we report as an average based on the past 30 years. All the blue (Dec) lines match up well with the "Climate Normal" column. The red (Jan) lines, are all much shorter (colder) than the "Climate Normal" line.

Information compiled by Jennifer Rukavina with data from Kentucky Mesonet stations
and the Paducah National Weather Service
February 6, 2014

This winter has been anything but "average" for the Lower Ohio and Mid Mississippi Valleys and the cold seems to have a tight grip with no sign of letting go. We typically see a couple bouts of snow and cold in our area but at this point in the winter season, we are in record territory (at least for cold).

The graphic to the right snows average snowfall for the Midwestern states with our area being on the lower end of the scale. Records Barkley Regional in Paducah show our average snowfall at 10.5" annually from a period of 1981-2010. So far this season Barkley Regional has measured 12.5" of snow which is about 125% of normal so far at this point in the season. The two graphics below illustrate both accumulated snowfall thus far and the percent of average (compared to normal) to date. So far we are nowhere near record annual snowfall. The snowiest winter on record at NWS PAH was 1977/1978 with 35.7" which mostly fell in the month of January. The winter of 1984/1985 was the second snowiest measuring 28.7" As of February 6th, we stand to crack the top 20 of snowiest seasons. We've got a long way to go as it concerns snow. COLD? That's another story. See below.


The grip of cold weather this winter has been unrelenting. Dangerous wind chills, single-digit lows, teen high temps, and extended periods of below freezing temps have made headlines since the start of Meteorological Winter (December 1). Wild temperature swings defined December and those temperatures ended up averaging out close to "normal" for the month. January began the downward spiral with 18 days below average, 6 nights in single digits, and even a record cold daytime high of 10 degrees on Jan 6th. That record day is included in the national map below illustrating the numerous record cold days in January.


In a "normal" January, the average temperature (both highs/lows) is 34.6 degrees. This past January averaged out to 30.0 degrees as shown in the graphic to the right. Despite the fact that Upper Midwest state are usually pretty cold during the winter, they too are registering well below average on the map to the right too. Not only the area of focus to the right was colder than average, the entire continental US East of the Rockies was colder than average. Where there is one extreme, there is usually another to counter. That is clearly shown on the same map. Extremely warm temperatures and drought have led to a devastating drought for areas already prone to wildfire in the west. February temperatures have pretty much taken a cue from Punxsutawney Phil keeping us in the arctic plunge (if you'd like to blame it on something!). The average temperature for the first five days of the month is 31.2 degrees which is 5 degrees below average. I'm sure that number will shrink somewhat as we get into the second half of February but so far even the forecast thru the next week looks equally frigid.

 Those of you who inquired about frost/ice quakes after the front page article in the Paducah Sun on Thursday, here is the link to the full interview I conducted with Geologist Dr. Thomas Schmidlin explaining what conditions led to the possibility of their occurrence here in the Local 6 area. This interview took place on January 22, 2014.

Click Here: Recent Booms, Ice Quakes?

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