Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weather By the Numbers

Weather fascinates me. I like storms and such, but I find myself more intrigued by data and statistics — especially when it comes to extremes.

I think it hearkens back to my childhood, which found me spending inordinate numbers of hours reading the backs of baseball cards. For example, did you know George Brett was born May 15, 1953 in Wheeling, WV? I haven’t looked that up since 1st grade, if you were wondering.

But I digress.

This fun little winter spell we’ve been experiencing had me wondering about the context of the snow and cold snap.

(All forthcoming data is based on KCI measurements.)

With forecasters predicting lows this weekend anywhere from -9º to -16º, the possibility is certainly there for a dip to double-digit negative temps.

Did you know…the last time we were in double digits below zero was January 28, 1997—pert near 13 years ago? Yep. We hit -14º that day.

We got quite a dumping of snow in December, including 7” on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Did you know…December 2009 was the 3rd snowiest December on record? With 15.1”, last month trailed only December 1961 (16.6”) and December 1918 (16.4”).

This is a bit less related to current weather, but it’s interesting to see the extremes of years past. I know a better indication of the “harshness” of a season would be, say, December of 2002 combined with January and February of 2003, but that’s too much work. I’ll work backward from 2008 (2009 data is incomplete); the numbers are as follows:

2008: High temp = 97º. Number of days it got above 90º = 15. Low temp = -4º. Number of days it got below 0º = 5.
2007: 102º (40); -3º (3).
2006: 104º (58); 4º (0).
2005: 99º (38); -5º (1).
2004: 95º (10); -4º (4).
2003: 106º (48); -9º (3).
2002: 103º (62); -4º (1).
2001: 100º (34); -6º (2).
2000: 106º (47); -9º (7).

A couple more tidbits:

My fiancée moved here from Minnesota in mid-2004. The absurdly mild summer that year was completely deceptive and may have played some small role in keeping her here. Thank you, Mother Nature.

The cold isn’t going to let up for at least several more days, but keep this in mind: every year since 2000, it has hit at least 60º at some point in January. Hell, it’s even hit 70º twice (in 2003 and 2009).

1 comment:

Steaming bowl o' Calderone said...

Yeah, I'm kind of a weather geek too.

Weather geek powers activate! Form of El Niño!

This bit notmexican hispanicana brought to you by Josh's captcha - "spainab".