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It Wasn't Your Imagination: This Winter Was Cold, Snowy

March 12, 2010

By WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist, James West

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This winter was one for the records books; it was cold and full of rain and snow across the U.S.

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the U.S. official record keeper of climate data, confirmed this week what many Americans already knew, the 2009-2010 winter was colder than normal with above normal rain and snow.

From December 1 to March 1, 63 percent of the U.S. experienced below-normal temperatures, with parts of Texas, southern Mississippi seeing near record cold. Even more proof of this winter`s ferocity, February`s average U.S. temperature was a hair above freezing, more than 2 degrees colder than the long term average, says the NCDC.

The drivers of the cold weather were several arctic outbreaks that dived deep into the southern U.S. It was so cold there; Florida experienced its fourth coldest February, with Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas all experiencing top 6 coldest winters.

A wet pattern across the U.S. led to above-average precipitation across the southern and eastern U.S., with several major snowstorms hitting the South, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. On the flip side, A few places like the Ohio Valley, central Great Lakes and the Northwest were drier than normal.

The Northwest dryness was likely driven in part to a moderate El Nino, which typical drives Pacific storms southward into the Southwest. This winter, this pattern developed, with southern California, the Great Basin and the Southwest seeing above average rain and snow this winter.

Be sure to stay with WeatherBug for the latest on your local weather as winter exits and spring arrives. The latest updates are available anywhere on Twitter at WeatherBug WeatherBuzz.

Source and Attached Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Climatic Data Center

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