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The Winter That Wasn’t Ties For Third Warmest Ever

OSWEGO, NY – The winter that never really got started, officially ends at 1:14 a.m. Tuesday (March 20).

“It never really settled in like a good Oswego winter,” said Bill Gregway, local observer for the National Weather Service. “It never got started.”

In the final days of winter 2011 - 2012, Dick Drosse and his wife, Naneen (pictured) got out on the river Saturday afternoon. The weather was unbelievable, he said. They are going through a wall remnant of a dam for the Oswego River Starch Company by Battle Island.
In the final days of winter 2011 - 2012, Dick Drosse and his wife, Naneen (pictured) got out on the river Saturday afternoon. The weather was unbelievable, he said. They are going through a wall remnant of a dam for the Oswego River Starch Company by Battle Island.

For his record keeping, Gregway breaks the seasons into four three-month blocks with winter being December, January and February.

The average temperature was 32.6 degrees. That is 6.4 degrees above average.

“All three months were above average temperature wise,” Gregway said. “December 5.4 degrees, January 6.9 degrees and February 6.8 degrees.”

The winter of 2011 – 2012 tied for the third warmest since the winter of 1853 – 1854. In second place (32.9 degrees) is 1879-1880. The warmest is 34.4 degrees – the winter of 2001 – 2002.

The coldest winter on record in Oswego is 1917 – 1918 when it was a brisk 17.5 degrees.

The highest temperature, 53 degrees, came twice – on Dec. 4 and 15.

The lowest, zero, came on Jan. 15.

There were no new records set last winter and no below zero readings, Gregway added.

Temperatures were in the 50s three times in December, once in January and twice in February.

January had 15 days where it was 40 degrees or warmer and February had seven, Gregway added.

December had four overnight lows in the teens, January had three in the single digits and February had three in the teens.

Total precipitation was 10.37 inches. That’s just 0.05-inch below average.

The greatest precipitation in a 24-hour period was 1.09 inches on Jan. 29.

Snowfall amounted to a mere 58.6 inches. That is 59.1 inches below average.

The greatest snowfall in a 24-hour period was 10.0 inches on Jan. 13.

“All three months were down, way down as far as snowfall,” Gregway said. “I think we are all done with snow for the time being.”

There was no snow on the ground for the first of December. It was a green Christmas and New Year’s as well.

There was some heavy snowfall on Jan. 13. The 17th saw some gale force winds. January 19 had some brief heavy snowfall – one inch in 30 minutes at one point.

And, Gregway said, “There really weren’t any biggies weather wise in February.”

The number of cloudy days, 66 was three below average.

The number of partly cloudy days, 18, was two above average.

The number of clear days, seven, was one above average.

The area saw 30 percent of the possible amount of sunshine during the winter. That is 21 percentages above average.

Measurable precipitation fell on 70 days and no precipitation fell on 21 days.

There were no thunderstorms, which is normal.

There were there foggy days, which is two above average.

The area had snow pellets 10 times; which isn’t that unusual since most of the snow was lake effect, Gregway said. With the varying temperatures above, snowflakes have a tendency to change shape on the way down, he said.

There were seven days with ice pellets and just one with freezing rain.

The highest barometric pressure was 30.61 on Dec. 3 and the lowest was 29.20 on Jan. 13.

The strongest winds were west-northwesterly gusting at greater than 50 mph on Jan. 17 and west-southwesterly on Jan. 28 again gusting greater than 50 mph.

The winter of 2010 – 2011 was 1.1 degrees below average.

Total precipitation was 1.38 inches above average.

And the snowfall was 171.8 inches, 54.1 inches higher than average for the three winter months.