Post by Craig Cogil – Senior Forecaster
This past meteorological winter (December-February) will be known for its relatively benign beginning but a tough finish. Temperatures in December were much above normal not only across Iowa but the country as a whole. There was a bit of transition in January closer to normal, but temperatures still averaged above normal across much of the state. However, beginning with a big snowstorm to start February, Iowa, along with the eastern half of the United States, saw a brutally cold month with temperatures well below normal. This was the second year in a row that saw an intensely cold February with both 2014 and 2015 being in the top ten coldest February’s on record for the state. Despite the relative warmth to start the season, the very cold February pushed temperatures below normal for the winter season across much of the state with the east being the coldest. Only near the western border did temperatures remain above normal for the winter season.
Precipitation was below normal for a statewide average despite a few locations seeing above normal rain and snowfall, primarily in the north and west. The largest dry departure was in the extreme east and southeast where locations saw only about 50 percent of normal precipitation. The statewide total was 2.82 inches for the season which is 0.52 inches below normal, making this winter the 54th driest among 142 years of records. The largest snow storm to affect the state during the winter occurred from January 31 into February 1 where a statewide average snowfall of 8.5 inches occurred. This was the largest statewide snowfall event since December 23-27, 2009.
Statewide Precipitation and Temperature Averages: