Tranquil end to wild weather year, but what lies ahead?

Sometimes, the weather does cooperate with our plans. As we usher in the new year, the weather will be quite ideal. This is a stark contrast to some of the wild weather we’ve had in 2015 and will likely see again in the upcoming year.

This evening is going to be tranquil without much wind and temperatures dipping into the 30s. If you look up around midnight you should be able to pick out Orion’s belt and the brightest start in the sky, Sirius. The image below, from, shows you what to look for. Conditions should be great for viewing, provided you get away from the brightest lights. It’s nice to have a calm New Year’s Eve in the weather department.

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Wild Year Of Weather Or Just More Of The Same?
2015 will no doubt be remembered for the snow. Of all the weather events that occurred during the year, it was the volume of snow that fell in such a short period of time that garners the most noteworthy weather occurrence this year.

Much has been written about the snow, and with a new winter underway it doesn’t bring much to the party to recount this year’s numbers. However, I will once again say it’s complete hubris to somehow think Mother Nature has already shown us everything she’s got and these wild swings aren’t going to keep occurring.

The First 50 Years Of Records
A century ago, on New Year’s Eve 1915, winter hadn’t really gotten underway. Boston Common had recorded less than 7 inches of snow for the season. This was followed by January 1916 when only 4.8 inches of snow fell. We can imagine Bostonians thinking the winter would be similar to the previous one, the winter of 1914-1915, during which a scant 22.3 inches of snow fell. It wasn’t the case.

February and March of 1916 brought unprecedented snow for the time. Each month, weather enthusiasts measured over 30 inches of snow, something that had never been recorded before. When the snow finally stopped, 79.2 inches had fallen, and because of the way they recorded snow back then, it would have likely been a bit more in today’s world. That winter had brought the most snow ever to the city, at least in official records. A winter with over 80 inches would not occur until 1947-48. The 100-inch mark wouldn’t be seen until the mid-1990s which stood until this past season. Which decade or century might see the 110.6 inch record fall is anyone’s guess, but it will.


Extreme Plus Extreme Equals Zero
2015 brought other records to the area. It was the coldest or second coldest February in the database, and December will end up the warmest by a statistically significant amount.

A quick look at the average temperature for the Boston area (official numbers won’t be available until early January) shows it’s likely to be almost exactly average for the past 30 years, and within a degree of average of all the years since 1872. Of course, this is just one spot on the planet and is meaningless in terms of global temperatures.

It’s possible 2016 won’t see any records, but if you want to think about possible records this year, I’d day focus on the summer heat and humidity. We haven’t seen prolonged summer heat in a couple of years, there’s a good bet this is about to change.

When Is The First Snowstorm?

Before summer arrives, we need to get through winter. The month of January should be rather tranquil. The models do show some cold outbreaks, but they should be fleeting, at least to start. The overall pattern is then forecast to undergo another shift somewhere between the 11th and the 15th. This is the period many of us will be watching for a potential real snowstorm. Until then, enjoy the quiet.

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