NWS: Winter is 'one of the coldest on record' - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

NWS: Winter is 'one of the coldest on record'

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WILMINGTON, NC (WMBF) - With this year's "meteorological winter" at an end, the National Weather Service says 2009/2010 will go down as one of the coldest on record for Northeast South Carolina and Southeast North Carolina.

In a public information statement issued by the NWS in Wilmington, NC on Wednesday, forecasters said this year's meteorological winter - the period from Dec. 1 through Feb. 28 - saw well below normal temperatures across the area and above average precipitation.

"What was interesting about this winter is that there were very few daily record cold temperatures set at any of the climate stations," it stated. "The cold was more impressive for its duration than its intensity... and that is what makes the 2009/2010 winter so memorable."

The National Weather Service cited the record cold during the beginning of January, the unusual cold throughout February and the "biggest and most widespread snowstorm to affect the area since 2000" as the three major events that will be remembered.

Florence

In Florence, the 40.6-degree average in January ranked as the 11th coldest on record. February's 40.7 average ranked third on record, pushing the meteorological winter's average down to 41.9, third lowest over the past 61 years.

January and February both averaged less than 31 degrees for monthly low temperatures, marking only the fourth time that both months have averaged below freezing during the same winter (last done in 1978).

Both months also had average temperatures below 41 degrees, only the third time on record that happened (1968, 1978).

Florence saw 64 days between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28 with a high temperature of 55 degrees or less, the highest number of days in a single winter that has happened. The second highest is 57 in 1978. Florence typically averages 38 days per winter with highs of 55 degrees or less.

There were 61 days when Florence had a low temperature below freezing, the 11th greatest number of days on record and nine above the average of 52 days per winter.

At Florence, SC:
MONTH AVG T AVG LOW PRECIP
December 44.5/-3.5 35.4/-2.0 5.03/+1.56
January 40.6/-4.7 29.6/-5.6 3.30/-0.78
February 40.7/-8.0 30.3/-7.2 2.87/-0.16
Winter Totals 41.9/-5.4 31.7/-5.0 10.84/+0.62

Notes:

  • Jan. 2-11: Low temperature at or below 26 degrees, second longest streak on record.
  • Jan. 2-16: Low temperature at or below freezing, the eighth longest streak on record.
  • Dec. 28-Jan. 14: High temperature at or below 55 degrees, fifth longest streak on record.
  • Jan. 29-Feb. 18: High temperature at or below 55 degrees, third longest streak on record.
  • Florence saw record lows on Jan. 3 (14 degrees), Jan. 7 (18 degrees) and Feb. 1 (20 degrees).

North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach's January ranked as second coldest at 41.6 degrees, with February being the coldest on record at 43.5 degrees.

The 44.7 degree average for the entire winter is the second coldest ever.

North Myrtle Beach saw 53 days with highs of 55 degrees or lower, and 38 days with sub-freezing temps.

At North Myrtle Beach, SC:
MONTH AVG T AVG LOW PRECIP
December 48.9/+1.4 40.5/+3.4 8.70/+5.40
January 41.6/-5.1 32.2/-4.6 2.44/-0.86
February 43.5/-3.7 34.2/-3.7 3.62/-0.98
Winter Totals 44.7/-3.7 35.6/-1.7 14.76/+3.56

Notes:

  • January 7 saw a record low at 21 degrees.

Wilmington

In Wilmington, January and February averaged sub-freezing lows for the month, only the fifth time both months averaged below 32 degrees during the same winter (last done in 1978). Both months also saw monthly average temperatures below 42, only the third time on record (1958, 1978) for that to happen.

At Wilmington, NC:
MONTH AVG T AVG LOW PRECIP
December 47.7/-1.2 38.1/-0.0 8.86/+5.08
January 41.3/-4.8 31.9/-4.8 3.42/-0.99
February 41.9/-6.6 31.2/-6.3 4.23/+0.57
Winter Totals 43.6/-4.3 33.7/-3.4 16.51/+4.66

Notes:

  • Jan. 2-11, the low temperature was at or below 28 degrees, the second longest streak on record.
  • Jan. 2-16 showed the low temperature sub-freezing, the sixth longest streak on record.
  • Feb. 11-21 saw a second streak of sub-freezing temps, the 19th longest streak on record.

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