Remarkably Similar Winters Back to Back
Now that spring like weather is starting to show up in some areas of the country we can start looking back at this past winter, its trends and its highlights.
Right off the bat, many will remember the winter of 2014-15 has a harsh one across many areas of the central and eastern portions of the United States. Record snows hit New England and portions of the Great Lakes. The record cold was almost as impressive this winter as the snow with many all time cold records broken or tied. Some areas of New England suffered through a top three record cold and record snow season.
On the flip side, the weather in the west was mild, especially the far west and southwest and at times in the Rockies and the High Plains. The west was warmer and less snowy this year than the winter of 2013-14, however, most of the rest of the nation experienced two very similar winter weather seasons back to back.
It is readily apparent when you look at temperature anomalies from the past two seasons from the months of November to March.
Below is a graphic highlighting the surface temperature anomalies for November 2013 to March of 2014.
The blue and purple areas highlight the most affected by the cold and snow while the green and yellow highlight the warmer areas from November 2013 to March 2014. From the Plains to the Midwest/Great Lakes to the east coast it was a very cold stretch of weather.
Below is a graphic highlighting the surface temperature anomalies for November 2014 to March of 2015. A quick glance at both seasons show remarkable similarities. You will notice that the extreme cold and snow this past winter was shifted a little more to the east (Rockies and High Plains warmer this winter).
Why have the past two winters been so similar? You can thank a large stretch of warmer than normal water in the Gulf of Alaska and the west coast combined with colder waters in the North Atlantic.
There are hints that next winter may be similar to the past two winters so stay tuned to this fall when will have a better idea on long range trends for next winter.