SAN ANTONIO – Cold, gray and drizzly – all of these words have nearly become cliché for describing this winter’s weather. But when breaking it down, did this winter really end up being unusually cold and gray?
The last day of February marked the end of “meteorological winter." As opposed to the beginning and end of astronomical seasons, characterized by the autumnal equinox, winter solstice, etc., meteorological seasons begin and end when the global weather patterns begin to shift.
The season change typically occurs around three weeks before the calendar says so. As a result, meteorological winter runs from Dec. 1 through the last day of February. Consequently, by meteorological standards, winter has come to a close.
Was it colder than normal this winter?
December finished with an average temperature that was right at normal. January and February fell on either side of this – January colder than normal and February warmer than normal. Ultimately, when the statistics get added up, this winter has finished with near-normal temperatures. While we had some big cold spells, we also had enough warm weather to counteract.
How did precipitation stack up this winter?
While numerous dry spells plagued South Texas throughout the winter, precipitation was actually above normal thanks to a wet December. However, the San Antonio area, along with most of the state of Texas, is still in drought. We’re still trying to overcome the deficit of rainfall from last fall.
Was it cloudier that normal this winter?
Cloud cover is a different story. Not only has it seemed really cloudy, it actually has been. From Dec. 1 to Feb. 28, 58 percent of the days were cloudy in San Antonio. In February alone, more than 70 percent of the month was cloudy.
What does this mean for the upcoming spring?
You will hear a lot about El Nino and La Nina influencing the weather for the upcoming season. While it is true that the globe is currently in a La Nina pattern, many other factors affect our weather that frequently negate the effects of an El Nino or La Nina.
Altogether, our weather pattern and local nature have begun to show signs of spring. We may still have a few more cold spells, but Ol’ Man Winter is on his way out the door.