2017: where did ‘Winter’ go?

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It seems like that cold weather and little bit of snow back in January never happened because it’s been so warm this season.  Between 1/5 and 1/9, the average temperature ran about 13ºF below average.  That 120-hour period was the coldest period of the season.

Remember this from Sunday morning, January 8th?

Outside of that, it’s been a lot warmer than you’d expect!

So who can blame you if you ask “Winter? What winter?” Through Tuesday, the current December to February period is the warmest winter on record.

Through Monday, the winter of 2016-17 now has the warmest average temperature on record going back to 1907-08.  If you peruse the record books yourself, you may notice that 1931-32 was warmer; it is missing a lot of data, though, so we tossed that out of the mix for this list.

Based on Huntsville Int'l Airport 'area' data from 1907

Based on Huntsville Int’l Airport ‘area’ data from 1907

The temperature has only dropped to or below 32ºF twenty-three times this season. That’s the second-fewest number on record; only Dec-Feb 1931-32 had fewer freezes than the 16-17 season (but we are missing 30 days’ worth of data from that winter making it hard to compare). Over the past 57 years, Huntsville averages about 45 to 50 freezes over the entire winter.

Cold air coming in behind Wednesday’s rain gives us a very good shot at one freeze and a chance at another before warmer air takes over again. Expect lows as cold as 27-32ºF on Thursday morning with a thick coating of frost. Daytime highs Thursday afternoon make it to the middle and upper 50s with some sunshine.

The broad, cold area of high pressure pushing the cold air in Thursday shifts to the southeast Thursday night; that sets up a return flow of warmer air for Friday, so the chance of a freeze drops considerably. Some of the usual cold pockets will still briefly drop into the upper 20s and lower 30s before the warmth takes over for the weekend.

Need some specifics about the weekend or next week? They’re always online at WHNT.com/Weather and in the “Daily Forecast” section on Live Alert 19!

-Jason
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