The end of February brought to a close the meteorological winter (December, January, and February). I decided to take a look at the January through March period, instead. It was a harsh winter, at least according to what people say. There were multiple major storms in the Northeast and record cold temperatures to ring in the New Year. But, what does the data say?
keep detailed weather records for my house in the Texas Hill Country.
Now, before I proceed, let me state that this is data for a single point
on the globe. The continental US makes up less than 2% of the globe's
surface area and my town makes up a tiny little fraction of that. I
always caution climate change deniers about taking weather data for a
single town as evidence to support their arguments. It works both ways.
And, besides, my data goes back only 25 years. This data doesn't prove
anything, one way or the other. It's just an interesting observation.
how did winter go this year in Mason, Texas? First, we set 25 new
record temperatures. That's an average of a new record in less than
every four days. That's pretty severe. But, what's interesting is that
13 of those were record lows and 12 were record highs. So, there were
basically the same number of record highs as record lows. The reason you
don't hear people talk about that is because a record low in winter is
harsh and notable. A record high is a nice day and people simply enjoy
it. That's an example of why we rely on data and not people's
I also compared the monthly average measured low
temperatures versus the average of the average lows for the same
periods. Then, I did the same for the high temperatures.
This is what I got for the lows:
Average measured lows Average Average Lows
Jan 31.4 37.2
Feb 41.2 40.0
Mar 49.4 46.1
indicates January really was harsh. The average temperature was nearly 6
degrees F lower than the average for the period and included the lowest
temperature in my 25-year record (7 degrees F on January 17). But, both
February and March were warmer than normal. February was only a little
warmer, but March was over 3 degree warmer.
This is the comparable results for the highs:
Average measured highs Average Average highs
Jan 63.7 57.3
Feb 67.9 59.5
Mar 79.1 65.8
Based on this, I'm surprised we had only 12 record highs! All three
months were warmer than average. January was over six degrees warmer,
February was more than eight degrees warmer and March was a whopping
13.3 degrees above the average.
So, the data tells us the nights
were, with the exception of January, mildly warmer. But, the day times
were quite a bit warmer than average for each month.
Again, this proves nothing except what happened here in my home town. But, it is still interesting.