How Cold and Snowy Has the Winter of 2009-2010 Been? *Updated through the End of February*

In almost any way to break it down, the winter of 2009-2010 ranks among the coldest and snowiest on record in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.  Two major winter storms in December set the stage for weather for the rest of the winter, as deep snow pack resulting from those two storms prevented temperatures from warming even during weather patterns that would have otherwise been favorable for above normal temperatures.

SNOW

Omaha has set its record, since 1948, for consecutive days of snow on the ground for depths of at least 1”, 2”, 3”, 6”, 9”, and 12”.  The consecutive days of snow records for 1” is still being increased as of March 1, with snow lingering on the ground.  Lincoln set its record, since 1948, for consecutive days of at least 12” of snow depth on the ground.  Norfolk’s records, since 1899, were harder to attain, and it is not likely to break any of its records for consecutive days of snow on the ground (unless there is at least 1” of snow on the ground all the way through April 8th or 2” of snow on the ground through April 1st!), though there are still 3" of snow on the ground as of March 1.

Omaha has reached the top 15 in seasonal (July through June) snowfall since 1884, with 46.8” as of March 1 ranking 14th.  The snowiest season on record in Omaha occurred in 1911-1912, with 67.5” of snowfall; Omaha would need 20.7” more snow to top that mark.  Lincoln also has reached the top 15 since 1899, with 40.0” as of March 1 ranking 15th.  The snowiest season on record in Lincoln occurred in 1914-1915, with 59.4” of snowfall; Lincoln would 19.5” more snow to top that mark.  Snowfall in Norfolk has cracked well into the top 10 since 1893, with 54.7” as of March 1 ranking 6th.  The snowiest season on record in Norfolk occurred in 1983-1984, with 86.1” of snowfall; Norfolk would need a whopping 31.5” of snow to break that record.  Average snowfall in March is around 6” across the area.

TEMPERATURES

Average temperatures in Omaha from December 1st through February 28th are the 11th coldest on record since records began in 1871, at 19.2 degrees.  The coldest on record was 13.2 degrees in 1978-1979.  The average temperatures have been affected by cold maximum temperatures more strongly than cold minimum temperatures, with maximum temperatures for the period ranking 6th coldest while minimum temperatures rank “only” 19th.  Omaha had the most days colder than 40 degrees on record for the months of December through February (86 days, breaking the previous record of 82 set in 1978-1979), though it is not yet approaching the yearly (July through June) record total (131 in 1880-1881).

Average temperatures in Lincoln from December 1st through February 28th are the 8th coldest on record since records began in 1887, at 20.0 degrees.  The coldest on record was 14.2 degrees in 1978-1979.  The average temperatures have been affected by cold maximum temperatures more strongly than cold minimum temperatures, with maximum temperatures for the period ranking 4th coldest while minimum temperatures rank “only” 15th.  Lincoln had the most days colder than 40 degrees on record for the months of December through February (85 days, breaking the previous record of 76 set in 1978-1979) and is approaching the yearly record total (102 in 1968-1969).

Average temperatures in Norfolk from December 1st through February 28tht are the 8th coldest on record since records began in 1893, at 17.7 degrees.  The coldest on record was 11.3 degrees in 1978-1979.  The average temperatures have been affected by cold maximum temperatures more strongly than cold minimum temperatures, with maximum temperatures for the period ranking 4th coldest while minimum temperatures rank “only” 25th.  Norfolk
had the most days colder than 40 degrees on record for the months of December through February (87 days, breaking the previous record of 85 set in 1978-1979), though it is not yet approaching the yearly (July through June) record total (116 in 1968-1969).  In fact, Norfolk also had the most days of 32 degrees or colder on record for December through February (71 days, breaking the previous record of 69 set in 1977-1978 and 1978-1979).



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