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A Flaky February After All | Environment

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A Flaky February After All

Meteorological winter ended at midnight last night.  (Astronomical winter has about three weeks left.  And, of course, Mother Nature cares little for how we define winter with accumulating snow falling here as late as May.)  

Certainly no one should ever mistake the winter of 2011-12 as a harsh season in Rochester and the Finger Lakes.

And no one is likely to mistake this past February as a harsh month either.

But February was snowy.  In fact, it was by far the snowiest month of the season.  It was even snowier than the months of November, December and January combined.

The total Rochester snowfall for February was 27.3 inches which was 5.8 inches above normal.  And since 1980, there were only 11 February’s
when more snow fell.

By the way, while the winter nationally was unusually warm and relatively storm free, that was not the case elsewhere in the northern Hemisphere.  

Recall the many news stories of extreme cold and snow from parts of Alaska and the Yukon to Europe and Asia.  Hundreds of people lost their lives due to the cold and snow.   

Read: Snow blocks in tens of thousands as cold death toll rises
Read: Bitter cold snow raises Europe death tolld

In terms of the global temperatures, an analysis of satellite data conducted by Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama-Hunstville showed that January (the most recent month for which data is available) was actually slightly colder than average in the northern hemisphere.  See the graph

March, of course, is often a wild and wacky month around here.  Consider what the month has wrought:  Our two biggest snow storms, the most destructive ice storm and multiple severe floods and wind events.  
But, by the same token, there have also been multiple times when temperatures soared into the 80s thanks to spells of sunshine and tranquility.  

March can be a friend one day, and a fiend the next.  That is just the nature of the month in Rochester.  

What might we expect this March?

Given the lack of the kind of high latitude blocking that would lock in a particular jet stream pattern, March is likely to live up to its reputation of  being a month of variety and volatility.  There is the potential to see everything from snow to temperatures soaring into the 70s, with a few rounds of thunderstorms and high winds thrown in for good measure. But over all, it has a warmer than normal look to it through mid month.

It should be an interesting ride.  

It almost always is in March.

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