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A Cold Winter — Now What?

Sure the calendar doesn’t say winter is over until March 20th. But meteorologists are impatient; they don’t wait until that date to close the chapter on winter. Instead, they consider December, January, and February (DJF) the winter months. (Meteorologists are also so impatient that the hundreds of weather stations across the U.S. have been programmed to report the hourly meteorological conditions seven minutes before the top of the hour.) With February coming to an end tomorrow, was the DJF temperature in Boston below average? You don’t need me to tell you that the answer is yes, but not as much as you might think. Surprisingly, December and February were slightly above-normal, while January was a whopping four and a half degrees Fahrenheit colder than normal. Thus, as a whole, DJF will turn out to be one degree Fahrenheit below normal.

So this winter was especially cold — now what? I was getting my haircut from Technicuts when Oscar proposed that hot summers follow cold winters. Is that true? Looking at the past fifty-seven years, thirty-two have had below-average temperatures during DJF, with slightly more than half (53%) followed by a warm summer. While not statistically robust, Oscar and the fifty-seven years of data suggest a warm summer is to come.

Extended Forecast

Today: Turning mostly cloudy and mild. Highs in the mid 50s˚F (12˚C).

South winds 15 to 25 mph.

Tonight: Passing rain showers after 8 p.m. Lows in the mid 30s˚F (2˚C).

Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph.

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny and colder. Highs in the mid 30s˚F (2˚C).

Sunday: Snow. Potentially up to 5 inches of snow. Highs in the upper

20’s˚F (-3˚C)

Monday: Cloudy and cool. Highs in the upper 20s˚F (-3˚C).