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2016 Winter Temperatures

Posted: March 31, 2016

A top-three “warm episode” (El Niño) brought some widely expected winter weather impacts to the U.S., but also provided some surprises. For example, atmospheric warmth in part supplied by the balmy central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean contributed to the nation’s warmest Decembe to -February period on record.

Given the warming influence of El Niño and the lack of sustained cold waves, it was not surprisingly that this was the warmest U.S. winter during the period of record that began in 1895-96. According to National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the nation’s winter average temperature of 36.8°F was 4.6°F above the 1901-2000 mean. It was the warmest winter on record in all six New England states, and among the ten warmest in 28 other states (see figure).

NCEI indicated the contiguous U.S. experienced its seventh warmest and 46th-driest February during the 122-year period of record. The nation’s monthly average temperature of 39.5°F was 5.7°F above the 1901-2000 mean. Overall, it was the nation’s warmest February since 2000. All states reported a February average temperature in the upper (warm) half of the historical distribution. For a dozen states across the western and central U.S., as well as three states in New England, temperatures were among the ten highest respective February values on record.

(Adapted from USDA Weekly Weather & Crop Bulletin)

Contact Information

Robert Crassweller
  • Professor of Tree Fruit
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Phone: 814-863-6163