It is official! Whether you trust Quilliam the hedgehog, or the groundhogs Chuck or Phil, all three of them agreed last week that we were in store for six more weeks of winter.
But, honestly, did you ever really have a doubt? I admit, it is fun to see what our local rodents or erinaceomorphas believe. But as a scientist, and one that lives in Ohio, I know all to well that winter weather here can last well into April. I have no doubt that this year will be no different – although hopefully we can wrap it up by late March.
While this winter has been much more typical of what Ohio is use to compared to last year, there were some pretty wild extremes across the Miami Valley in January. On Jan. 2, the temperature plunged to 13 degrees below zero only to soar to a record 59 degrees by Jan. 11.
So far, our winter has averaged below normal by nearly 2 degrees. While it may not seem like much, it is clear evidence that the level of cold has outweighed the chances to thaw out, at least thus far.
February is off to a cold start with temperatures averaging nearly 5 degrees below normal. All indications are that the month will likely remain below average for at least the next week to ten days as trough — an elongated region of low atmospheric pressure — in the jet stream remains carved out across the eastern half of the United States. However, it is important to point out that the trough, and thus the cold, does not look nearly as severe as what we saw in January. Temperatures should range closer to normal overall.
If you are really yearning for some signs of spring, perhaps a few of the following facts will make you feel warmer on the inside.
First, as of Monday, the sun is now setting after 6 p.m. for the first time since Nov. 5. By the end of this month, the sun will be setting at almost 6:30 p.m. And if astronomical spring still seems too far away for you, keep in mind that meteorological spring begins in just 22 days, on March 1.
So now I’ll refrain from telling you that some of the biggest snow storms in Ohio can happen in March. Oh wait, oops.
Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.