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February 2015 colder than February 2014?

The winter that just wouldn't go away!  That's how it felt last year.  But, could this winter be colder? At this point, it looks like this February will go down more than ten degrees below average.  That's colder than last February, which closed out running 9.5° colder than average.  So far 18 days this month, including today, have featured below average temps. The last week of the month will only tack onto those stats. Five days fell below zero in February and five days dropped into the sub-zero category in January.  We're looking for another two nights to drop below zero this week.

What about milder days?  Here's a look at days in Milwaukee where the mercury climbed to 30° or higher:

# of OccurrencesMonth
23November
25December
20January
2 February

While so much of the cold talk this winter has been focused on central and eastern parts of the nation, it's interesting to see that as we turn the calendar over to March and dream of warmer spring days, Mother Nature has a different story in mind. Look at the latest temperature outlook from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center:

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So where's the silver lining in the forecast?!  Looking forward to more sunshine and longer days will have to suffice. Each day we add 2-4 minutes of daylight. Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 8th. That means we spring the clocks forward one hour, and our sunset will then come in just ten minutes before 7pm. Plus, March is a big transition month in terms of average temperatures. 

Average High    Average Low
March 1st: 37°March 1st: 23°
March 31st: 48°March 31st: 32°

Even the extremes relax as we get into March. By mid month, the record low temps stay above zero. 

Looking back at March last year, after all the bitter cold, we saw progress. In Milwaukee, we recorded our last sub-zero night at -1° on March 3rd and by the end of the first week in March, we were in the 40s.  My parting thoughts include the fact that if we can survive the next couple weeks of cold, the turnaround on temps will feel that much better!

I'm meteorologist Rebecca Schuld

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