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Winter 2009-10 Was Rather Mundane

OSWEGO, NY – If you blinked, you might have missed the winter of 2009 – 10.

“We only had three periods really of any heavy snowfall. The last was the worst as it was a heavy wet snow,” according to Bill Gregway, local observer for the National Weather Service.

The vernal equinox arrived at 1:32 p.m. on March 20.

Several flocks of birds head north under cloudy rainy skies recently. Winter ended with temperatures near 60. The first few days of spring have been rainy and cold.
Several flocks of birds head north under cloudy rainy skies recently. Winter ended with temperatures near 60. The first few days of spring have been rainy and cold.

However, for the purpose of his reports, Gregway breaks the seasons into three-month blocks with winter being December, January and February.

The average temperature for the winter of 2009-10 was 27.5 degrees, which is 1.3 degrees warmer than average.

The warmest winter on record, since 1853-54, is 34.4 degrees set in the winter of 2001-02. The coldest was 17.5 degrees in 1917-18.

The highest temperature was 55 degrees on Dec. 2 and the lowest was -6 degrees on Jan. 30; it was the first below zero since -2 degrees on March 6, 2007.

There were no records set this past winter, Gregway noted.

“We haven’t had too much lately on the cold side. We have been warming up the past few years,” Gregway said of recent winters’ temperatures.

From Jan. 2 -14 the temperature was at or below 32 degrees.

There were 2 times when the temperature plunged below zero; both were in January, the 10th and the 30th.

Total precipitation for the winter was 10.46 inches, which is 0.04-inch above average.

The greatest precipitation in a 24-hour period was 1.30 inches on Feb. 25-26.

The total snowfall was 117 inches, which is 0.7-inch below average.

February 25-26 also saw the greatest snowfall in a 24-hour period, 17.8 inches.

“We were just slightly over average in precipitation and just about normal for snowfall,” Gregway observed. “We didn’t get any snowfall until December.”

The first measurable snowfall was on Dec. 1.

“We did manage to have a white Christmas, there was 2 inches on the ground,” Gregway said. “And, we had frozen fog on Dec. 27th.”

From 10 p.m. Jan. 1 to 10 p.m. Jan. 3, there was continuous lake effect snow, Gregway said. That amounted to 17 inches – and melted down to 0.90-inch of water.

“On Jan. 4 we had 19 inches of snow on the ground,” he said. “That’s the greatest depth we had all winter.”

There were 10 consecutive days of snowfall, Dec. 28 to Jan. 6, which totaled 38.8 inches.

“That was our heaviest snowfall for the winter,” Gregway said. “We got 8.3 inches of heavy wet snow on Feb. 25, which resulted in the first ‘snow day’ of the year for local schools.”

For the winter (September to May), the average snowfall is 150.8 inches. Through March 21 for that timeframe, the snowfall (117 inches) is 29.5 inches below average, Gregway added.

The number of cloudy days, 75, was 7 above average.

The number of partly cloudy days, 13, was 3 below average.

The number of clear days, 2, was 4 below average.

Sunshine came in at 18 percent of possible. That’s 15 percentages below normal, according to Gregway.

There were 70 days with measurable precipitation. There were 20 days with no precipitation.

It was an average winter for thunderstorms, with none.

However, the number of foggy days, 3, was 2 more than normal.

The winter months had 11 days with snow pellets, 4 with ice pellets and 3 incidents of freezing rain.

The highest barometric pressure for the winter occurred on Dec. 12 (30.47) and the lowest was just a few days before that (29.08 on the 9th).

The strongest winds were greater than 55 mph on Dec. 28.

For the winter of 2008-09 the average temperature was 0.8-degree below average. There were no below zero readings.

Precipitation was 0.57-inch above average.

And, snowfall was 6.7 inches above average.

Based on the lack of snow in November, Gregway predicted this winter would come in with less than 100 inches of snow. The other times there was a snowless November, the winter failed to reach the 100-inch plateau.

“My forecast was pretty close. We’re just 17 inches over,” he said. “We only had 3 big snowy periods. Other than that, we came out pretty close to being average.”