Record Low Winter Season Snowfall
By Russell Russ
This winter’s unusual and relatively snowless pattern continued through March. Temperatures were well above normal for most of the month. Record warmth on March 9 and 10 cleared the remaining ice from most local lakes and ponds, which was over five weeks earlier than last winter. For outdoor winter sporting activities, it was one of the worst winters in many years. Strangely enough, it was an above average maple syrup season here in Norfolk.
March’s low temperature of 14 degrees was observed on March 5 and the high of 72 degrees was observed on March 9. There were two daily record high temperatures this month. The 72 on March 9 shattered the old record of 63 from 2002 and the 69 on March 10 surpassed the 64 set back in 1977. With an average mean temperature of 38.6 degrees, it was eight degrees warmer than normal and was the fourth warmest March in the last 85 years. The warmest March was in 2012 with an average mean temperature of 41.8. Five of our top 10 warmest Marches have occurred since 2000.
The total precipitation for the month was 2.10 inches. This was 2.35 inches below normal and ranked as the seventh lowest precipitation amount on record for the month of March. Through the first quarter of 2016 the total precipitation amount was 10.42 inches, 1.66 inches below normal.
The monthly snowfall total was just 1.5 inches, 16.2 inches below normal. It was the fifth lowest March snowfall total on record. The snowfall total through the first quarter of 2016 was 26.2 inches, 33.2 inches below normal. There were only two days this month with measureable snowfall and when it came it did not last long. This was vastly different from last March when a snow core taken showed six inches of water being stored on the ground in the form of snow and ice.
This winter season, October through April 15, ranks as the least snowy winter season on record for this station, with a snowfall total of just 35.5 inches. This is 54.1 inches below normal. We still have the end of April and May to go before the season is officially over, but it is looking like we have seen the last of this winter season’s measurable snowfall.
The top three least snowy winter seasons are 2015-2016 with 35.5 inches, 1994-1995 with 40.9 and 1991-1992 with 43.7 inches. It is interesting to note that while 1994-1995 was second least, 1995-1996 ranks as our third snowiest winter. There could be hope for snow lovers—next year.