By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer


BOSTON (CBS) — This winter has been ridiculous. All three winter months will finish with well above average temperatures. January was the third warmest on record. February will finish in the top five warmest on record. The winter months of Dec-Jan-Feb combined will finish in the top three warmest on record.

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The combination of January and February 2020 will go in the books as the second-least snowy (3.6”). .  . we haven’t had less snow in Jan-Feb combined since 1937!

So that begs the question. . . is winter over? Can we stick a fork in it? Or, will March smack us in the face (as it so often does) and leave a mark on what otherwise would have been a warm and snowless winter.

Let’s look at what the statistics say.

If you simply take the top 10 warmest Februarys in Boston and look at the month of March that followed, seven out of 10 stayed the course and had a warmer than average March. Five of the 10 had significantly warm months of March ranging 3 to nearly 10 degrees above the average! So by this measure, ODDS FAVOR A WARM MARCH.

OK, what if we take the top 10 warmest winters (Dec-Jan-Feb) on record in Boston and look at the March that followed? Similar story. . . six of the 10 had warmer than average months of March, again many were way over the average. So, add another check in the ODDS FAVOR A WARM MARCH column.

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How about snow? Glad you asked! When looking back at the top 10 least snowy February’s and then the March that followed, we find a similar trend. Seven of the 10 months of March had below average snowfall (most were way below). So, by this measure, ODDS FAVOR LOW MARCH SNOWFALL.

So, if you just go by the numbers, I would say we have about a 60-70% chance of continuing the trend of warm and low snow this March.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Now, of course it isn’t that simple. Each of these years had different stories to tell, entirely different atmospheric setups from El Nino to La Nina, etc.

No two years are alike and the setup this winter is vastly different than many of the other warm winters when you take into account everything happening globally (from ocean temperatures to Polar Vortex).

So, there is certainly a bit more value in looking at the current overall weather pattern as we head into March and trying to see if any large scale changes are coming. The answer there is a resounding NO.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

This winter has been ruled by a very tight Polar Vortex over the North Pole, trapping much of the real cold up north. Also, a persistent Alaskan trough has kept Alaska cold but had the opposite reaction in the U.S. flooding us with mild, Pacific based air.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Both of these features show no signs of relenting in March. The storm track looks to remain to our west, meaning mainly rain storms here in southern New England followed by a few days of cold. Just like the last few months, when the cold air does come, it is here for a brief spell and gone before the next storm arrives.

Maybe, just maybe, we will be golfing and hitting the soccer and baseball fields earlier this year.

Famous last words? We shall see.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ

Comments (9)
  1. Dean says:

    Thank God for a warmer winter….I love it! We need more gloabl warmign if this si the result.

  2. Roger Pointer says:

    Turkey was hit last week with 20 FEET of snow.
    How quickly we forgot 2019 Headlines:
    May 21, 2019:Denver Sees Biggest Late May Snow In 44 Years
    May 24, 2019:Snowiest May Ever Means August Skiing at Mammoth…
    September 30, 2019: Record snow, cold, slams northern Rockies with winter-like weather…
    40 Inches in Montana: It’s a February Storm in September!
    Arctic blast expected to break 170 records across USA…
    Utah record cold; Lowest October temp ever in continental USA…
    96-year-old snowfall record smashed in Chicago after Halloween storm…
    NOAA Data Tampering Approaching 2.5 Degrees

  3. seti111 says:

    FAKE NEWS. As an active traveling professional skier and snow boarder where there was snow in years past, in all typical locations, 2019 and 2020 have seen snow in at the very least average amounts and often above average. Everywhere we travel and go it’s clear the reports on climate change have absolutely no basis in reality. NONE! There’s no reason to fear a man made climate change, it doesn’t exist. What is truly scary though, is to what end are these lunatics pushing such brazen misinformation and lies? To the more accessible individuals, your average TV Weathermen for example, pushing this narrative and causing people, fellow human beings, anxiety and fear, I say, please stop! Just simply stop! Why are you willingly causing so much unnecessary harm and pain? Come clean, stand your ground, and say, ” No, I will not do this anymore! ” Be THAT guy and not a soulless peddler of lies and deceit. Enough is enough, dude!

    1. myother says:

      Contrary to public perception global warming theory does predict that there will be more snow due to more moisture in the atmosphere. It’s at ground level where the warming occurs And if you are in the mountains there is less global warming than if you are at the beach. Snow is formed in the clouds.

  4. James Edwards says:

    53 years of living in Connecticut. If this winter is the “new normal”…I say have at it. I hate snow and everything about it. Life is a lot easier (and less expensive) with snow-less winters :)

  5. alpha1six says:

    I live in a ski town and look forward to climate change. A longer growing season may allow my tomato’s to ripen before we get a frost. At 1,400 feet I am not that concerned about the rising Atlantic.

  6. Joe Tonelli says:

    Didn’t the EXPERTS say we were going to have a NASTY winter?

  7. C S Lewis says:

    So there have been warmer and cooler winter months. I guess the science says that temperatures are variable.

  8. Luke says:

    Eric Fisher’s “explanation” (er,excuse) regarding busted WBZ Winter Outlook forecast for 2019-2020 season mentioned the models WERE accurate. But they overrode them!
    So why did the meteorologists ignore the models and think they could arrogantly predict a complex environment like New England’s climate?!

    They never seems to learn. Burbank predicted approx. 60″ of snowfall and failed miserably. His and the chief met’s snow loving bias will likely occur again as they don’t seem to learn from past mistakes. Stop trying to predict a full season outlook and focus on accuracy for the 7 day forecast!

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