Needless to say it's been a crazy winter here in Western Wisconsin. Last month we had a day in the 50s early in the month surrounded by several well above normal days. Then, we had a brief cold spell towards the middle-end of the month then things warmed right back up well above average to round out the first month of 2012.
These first five days of February have been pretty much the same old thing. Temperatures well above normal and quiet with no big storm systems to speak of. Where's winter? It seems like it has been everywhere else but here this week. We were watching that powerful storm system that impacted the Central Plains earlier this week. The winter storm dumped snow from Colorado to Iowa. Dry air and a high pressure system that moved in put the block on that storm system reaching us.
The storm first hit Colorado. Here are the snowfall totals from February 2nd to February 4th.
These were some incredible snowfall totals. February doesn't usually see storms like this from year to year in Colorado. At Denver International Airport, 12.5" of snow fell on February 3rd. That set the record for the most snowfall in a 24 hour period for the month of February. The old record was 9.5" that was tied in 1909 and 1953. 15.9" fell over the three day event setting a record for most in a 3 day time frame in February.
That's nothing compared to the foothills just west of Denver. Here's a zoomed in look below. Several locations measuring 3 to 4 feet of snow. Yep, that's feet! Incredible!
This winter has been very harsh for people in Europe and on into Western Asia. The deep freeze in Europe began on January 26th. The cold as been unrelenting with many locations seeing temperatures well below zero. This is the coldest winter in 6 years in the Ukraine where over 100 deaths have been blamed on the cold weather. Across the continent, over 200 people have been killed from the frigid temperatures. Below is a look back on February 2nd and the departure from normal in temperatures across the world. Notice the cold weather over Europe into Russia and Mongolia. In North America, much of the continent is above normal as far as temperatures go.
Another problem in Europe has been frequent snow storms. Italy saw a snow storm this past Friday that closed the Coliseum. It was the most snow since 1986. Tens of thousands were without power. Snow across Europe has stranded thousands of people and has wreaked havoc on travel across the continent.
Somewhat closer to home, Alaska has had one of the worst winters in memory. You'll notice on February 2nd, much of the state was below normal. Temperatures have been as cold as -40 to -60 degrees last week. Now that's winter! Earlier this winter some towns were stranded and cut off from the outside world due to several feet of snow. A town called Valdez, AK, which is around 120 miles east of Anchorage on the Gulf of Alaska has picked up 333.2" of snow through February 1st. That is 137.9" above normal. An average winter the town sees 326". WOW!
Meanwhile, here in Western Wisconsin our temperatures look to take a tumble this week. First a cold front tomorrow then another one on Thursday will bring high temperatures down into the 10s. No big snow storms in sight though. Meanwhile, our snow deficit for the season continues to build. It is now over 14"! I will say we have earned a tame winter after last year.