Winter is far from over, but the core of the winter season – December, January, and February – was among the snowiest and coldest on record. In fact, meteorological winter 2013-2014 was the 2nd snowiest and the 18th coldest on record in Cincinnati.
To ensure that meteorologists compare apples with apples, meteorological winter is defined as December, January, and February. Astronomical winter’s start and end date varies each year and often ends and begins at a different time each year. Meteorological winter is always 3 months long, so it’s simple to compare seasons.
To measure where a season ranks compared to other years, we must know the average temperature of each day in that season. The average temperature of a day is the high and low temperature divided by two; the average temperature of a season is the average of all of the daily average temperatures in a season. When you crunch these numbers for the winter of 2013-2014, it ranks as the 18th coldest:
Meteorological winter of 2013-2014 ranks as the 2nd snowiest on record in Cincinnati; we were close to the number one spot of 1977-1978!
While those are the two most common ways to measure a winter’s might, there are other ways. Ranking as the 14th coldest, the average low temperature this winter in the Queen City was 4.4° below average, but it was nowhere near as cold as 1976-1977:
The number of nights where we dropped below 10° in meteorological winter was double the average but well short of the record set in 1976-1977:
Cincinnati dropped below 0° 7 days between December 1st and February 28th. This is over three times the average, but 10 days short of the record:
While the days were cold, records show that the number of days in December, February, and January where the high was below 32° was about average and not even close to matching the record:
One big record was set this winter: the most number of days (32) in meteorological winter with measurable snowfall. This beats the previous record set in 1977-1978 of 30 days:
One Tornado Warnings and seven Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued in February 2014. The Tornado Warning was the first issued in the Tri-State during February since National Weather Service Forecast Office in Wilmington records began in 1995. The tornado confirmed by the National Weather Service in Ripley County was the first February tornado in the Tri-State since February 15, 1967.
Even after the brutal cold of meteorological winter 2013-2014, nearly all records of snowfall and cold still belong to 1976-1977 or 1977-1978. Rounds of snow and ice are far from over in the Ohio Valley. Cincinnati averages 3.1″ of snowfall each March; some in the Tri-State may see more than that Sunday into Monday!