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Streaks of 32 and colder at PHL


BeerandWXTogether
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I believe Feb '79 and Jan-Feb '61 are the gold standards at 15 straight days of 32 or colder since 1940.

There was a 10 day streak in Dec '89, a 9 day streak in '04, a bunch of 7 day streaks in recent years (like 2011).

 

Longest streak last winter was 5 (twice).

 

Today marks day 3 of probably 9 sub 32's at PHL.

 

 

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I believe Feb '79 and Jan-Feb '61 are the gold standards at 15 straight days of 32 or colder since 1940.

There was a 10 day streak in Dec '89, a 9 day streak in '04, a bunch of 7 day streaks in recent years (like 2011).

 

Longest streak last winter was 5 (twice).

 

Today marks day 3 of probably 9 sub 32's at PHL.

Good stats. Hard to get it sustained without blocking leading to a warmer day.

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Any stats on the burbs?  Philly's sort of an odd anomaly for the area (especially the airport) due to heat island interfering on a calm day.  I imagine there's a lot of streaks significantly longer just a short distance away without the heat island on calm days breaking the streak up.

Actually the heat island is primarily a night-time effect. Daytime effects are pretty minimal. 

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I realize we're only in mid-feb, but are there any early stats based on the expected temps or "month so far" on where this feb ranks among historical febs - and how the winter ranks compared to both last winter and historical winters?  I believe the number last year was 17th coldest.   Despite the warm Dec, I imagine even Feb so far has taken a pretty serious hit out of that warmth.

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Interesting.  There's usually a 5-8 degree difference between here and there, I always attributed it to the island.  Must just be geography then.

What is your elevation?  That can have a lot to do with it.  Usually interior south Jersey and Philly are very close temp-wise during the day.  Night is another story.

 

For example, between PHL and VAY in south Jersey, the average daytime temp difference is a half degree.  At night its more than three degrees. 

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Any stats on the burbs?  Philly's sort of an odd anomaly for the area (especially the airport) due to heat island interfering on a calm day.  I imagine there's a lot of streaks significantly longer just a short distance away without the heat island on calm days breaking the streak up.

 

To answer your question about streaks in the burbs, if we take Allentown, for example, which is 50 miles northwest and more than 300 feet higher, only 4 streaks beat PHL's max:  18 days in 1978, 17 days in 2000-2001, 16 days in 1970 and 1961.

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What is your elevation?  That can have a lot to do with it.  Usually interior south Jersey and Philly are very close temp-wise during the day.  Night is another story.

 

For example, between PHL and VAY in south Jersey, the average daytime temp difference is a half degree.  At night its more than three degrees. 

 

Around 450 I think, maybe a bit lower.  Though that's for the general area and I may be in a minor valley. I've found that compared to forecast and actual temps for Philly, nights are generally 5-8F colder, days are generally 2-6F colder.  For MOS based local forecasts I generally subtract 3-5 to get to the middle ground.  Every now and then I get surprised that the forecast was exact or even low, but not often.

 

To answer your question about streaks in the burbs, if we take Allentown, for example, which is 50 miles northwest and more than 300 feet higher, only 4 streaks beat PHL's max:  18 days in 1978, 17 days in 2000-2001, 16 days in 1970 and 1961.

 

Yeah, if the heat island isn't really that important for daytime, that makes sense.

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Around 450 I think, maybe a bit lower.  Though that's for the general area and I may be in a minor valley. I've found that compared to forecast and actual temps for Philly, nights are generally 5-8F colder, days are generally 2-6F colder.  For MOS based local forecasts I generally subtract 3-5 to get to the middle ground.  Every now and then I get surprised that the forecast was exact or even low, but not often.

 

Ah, yup that's about what I thought you'd say.  Make sense you have cooler temps there.  450 feet isn't a lot, but that's over 400 feet above PHL airport so several degrees of difference can be expected.

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Ah, yup that's about what I thought you'd say.  Make sense you have cooler temps there.  450 feet isn't a lot, but that's over 400 feet above PHL airport so several degrees of difference can be expected.

 

Never even thought to look at elevation outside snow events for some reason.

 

It's pretty frustrating, or more to the point used to be pretty frustrating in the pre-internet age, as all forecasts were always for Philly, and normal people had no idea that those forecasts had nothing to do with the surrounding areas.  It was just assumed that "the weathermen are always wrong" for everyone :)  I still get frustrated with the Philly-centric nature of local weather since it has so little to do with the weather around it. Pre-internet it was always exceedingly frustrating that where the local news did cover surrounding areas it was always Jersey and Allentown as though the other areas didn't exist.  Many, many times I remember the school district being open because the news reports and forecasts showed not much snow (for Philly), meanwhile we were burried here but it "didn't happen" officially because it wasn't Philly.  Obviously today it's fairly different...but back when we had to walk 10 miles uphill both directions with no shoes... ;)

 

Thus the "forecast by zip" being handy, but so far, none of those are pretty accurate either.  Accu tends to be all over the place, TWC seems to go with whatever seems most extreme, no matter what, and the "good one", WPC is probably good but has a strong cold bias.  Nearest monitoring station is PCPN which tends to be fairly snowier and colder.  It's not overwhelmingly far, but far enough. So I have to forecast my own weather all the time :unsure:

 

Yesterday was 17 at PHL, only 13.9 ("14") here, WPC was going with 12.  So PHL is 3 high, WPC was 2 low.  That was actually closer than a lot of days, probably due to wind.

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I believe Feb '79 and Jan-Feb '61 are the gold standards at 15 straight days of 32 or colder since 1940.

There was a 10 day streak in Dec '89, a 9 day streak in '04, a bunch of 7 day streaks in recent years (like 2011).

Longest streak last winter was 5 (twice).

Today marks day 3 of probably 9 sub 32's at PHL.

We might come close tomorrow. Stat guidance running around 3F too low today. This has been sop on non preciping or totally cloudy days. Then smooth sailing til Sunday (maybe mid on Sat night?).
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We might come close tomorrow. Stat guidance running around 3F too low today. This has been sop on non preciping or totally cloudy days. Then smooth sailing til Sunday (maybe mid on Sat night?).

 

If that breaks the streak in PHL this would be #5 to add to Rays list, since it certainly won't break the streak away from PHL (and certainly in Allentown.)

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If that breaks the streak in PHL this would be #5 to add to Rays list, since it certainly won't break the streak away from PHL (and certainly in Allentown.)

 

I think we'll get away with it tomorrow.  Only threat day til the weekend.  BTW Feb totally obliterates the warm December, this winter is going to average colder than the current normal. (Normal PHL daytime highs are in the mid 40s).

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I think we'll get away with it tomorrow.  Only threat day til the weekend.  BTW Feb totally obliterates the warm December, this winter is going to average colder than the current normal. (Normal PHL daytime highs are in the mid 40s).

 

That's what I figured.  At least I won't have to hear the hand wringing nonsense about "but because of a warm December it was a warm winter" :rolleyes:

 

I'm wondering how, overall it will compare to last year and the average when it's all said and done.  Last year was 17th coldest I think.  I wonder if Feb drags Dec down (along with a cold Jan) to join near it - especially if the weeklies are to be trusted.  I'd actually be surprised if Feb alone doesn't end up bottom 10, or at least 15.  like Feb 14

 

I also wonder if this cold series of years will start dragging down the average.  Isn't the average based on 30 years, or is it more?

 

 

After, say, March, I'd love to see the expanded average of Nov-Mar rather than just Dec-Feb to really compare 13-14/14-15.  It seems to me like between those 5 months we just swapped a few months around.  Nov 13 = Dec 14, Dec 13 = Nov 14, Jan 14 = Feb 15, Feb 14 = Jan 15, Mar 14 = Mar 15(?) - if it works out that way I would be surprised to see both years avg within a degree or so of each other.  Not officially since "winter" is officially tracked excluding Nov/Mar.

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That's what I figured.  At least I won't have to hear the hand wringing nonsense about "but because of a warm December it was a warm winter" :rolleyes:

 

I'm wondering how, overall it will compare to last year and the average when it's all said and done.  Last year was 17th coldest I think.  I wonder if Feb drags Dec down (along with a cold Jan) to join near it - especially if the weeklies are to be trusted.  I'd actually be surprised if Feb alone doesn't end up bottom 10, or at least 15.  like Feb 14

 

I also wonder if this cold series of years will start dragging down the average.  Isn't the average based on 30 years, or is it more?

 

 

After, say, March, I'd love to see the expanded average of Nov-Mar rather than just Dec-Feb to really compare 13-14/14-15.  It seems to me like between those 5 months we just swapped a few months around.  Nov 13 = Dec 14, Dec 13 = Nov 14, Jan 14 = Feb 15, Feb 14 = Jan 15, Mar 14 = Mar 15(?) - if it works out that way I would be surprised to see both years avg within a degree or so of each other.  Not officially since "winter" is officially tracked excluding Nov/Mar.

 

 

I think last winter was ranked higher (warmer) than 17th.  I'm not at work, so maybe Ray has the number.  Last March was also pretty cold, 4.6F below, so that is not going to be easy to duplicate.  

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BTW quick and dirty calculation, this winter to date average temp 33.3F, last winter quick calc was 33.1F.

 

Yikes! And that's without Wed/Thu/Fri/Sat in the mix. And the weeklies don't inspire confidence to start raising the avg through the remainder. 

 

This pattern has been stuck in one form or another for almost 3 years now....I wonder when something will change it.  It's like Groundhog day.

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I think last winter was ranked higher (warmer) than 17th.  I'm not at work, so maybe Ray has the number.  Last March was also pretty cold, 4.6F below, so that is not going to be easy to duplicate.  

 

The 17th # came from one of the phillywx fb posts, so Tom may remember when it came from.  I remembered the number, but maybe it referred to a different stat than winter overall. 

 

I imagine the March cold was more about the snowpack than the air masses with the exception of that 10F night in the first or second week. Given the pattern this year, I wouldn't doubt at all we'd do that again this year.  Though the lack of snowpack will keep it from a 4.6F departure though, I'm sure.

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That 15 day FEB 1979 is the gold standard in more ways than one, (6) consecutive & (8) out of (10) days in which the temp did not crack 20 degrees. Throw in 27.6" of snow & you got yourself a whole winter in 15 short days.

 

That run is pretty impressive, but I imagine if we look at other years we'll find a few that have similar runs that the "streak" was broken up by a warmer day or two.  Ruins the stats, but feels just as miserable.  The part of 79 that makes me really cringe though is the recorded lows during that period. In my mind that's the part that makes it truly impressive (and frightening to think of happening again.)

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I think last winter was ranked higher (warmer) than 17th.  I'm not at work, so maybe Ray has the number.  Last March was also pretty cold, 4.6F below, so that is not going to be easy to duplicate.  

I'm seeing 45th as last winter's ranking.  Tied with 93-94. 

 

PHL's top 20:

 

1976-77  28.0

1962-63 28.3

1903-04 28.3

1977-78 28.4

1917-18 28.5

1904-05 28.6

1874-75 28.6

1880-81 28.7

1960-61 28.9

1892-93 29.6

1935-36 29.7

1884-85 29.7

1876-77 30.0

1919-20 30.2

1969-70 30.3

1944-45 30.3

1961-62 30.4

1947-48 30.6

1963-64 30.9

1894-95 31.0

 

Maybe the 17th ranking was at the airport, which didn't become the observing site til 1940-41.

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Last winter 17th coldest in last 50 years.  For the Airport era, I believe last winter came in 26th coldest.

 

Regarding temp data - 34.1 through yesterday (using days and not months to calculate given a partial month), 32.7 to this point last winter (using the same method).

 

If the month ends today, it is the 5th coldest Feb of the Airport era and one of the 15 coldest Febs ever. Feb '34 is the cold standard (22.2), '79 is 2nd (and coldest at the Airport). Obviously we still have nearly two weeks left and next week should not be *as* cold so the average temperature may skew up a bit...it wouldn't shock me if this February is one of the 20 coldest on record (29.5 is the "magic" number at PHL for a top 20 cold Feb).

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Last winter 17th coldest in last 50 years.  For the Airport era, I believe last winter came in 26th coldest.

 

Regarding temp data - 34.1 through yesterday (using days and not months to calculate given a partial month), 32.7 to this point last winter (using the same method).

 

If the month ends today, it is the 5th coldest Feb of the Airport era and one of the 15 coldest Febs ever. Feb '34 is the cold standard (22.2), '79 is 2nd (and coldest at the Airport). Obviously we still have nearly two weeks left and next week should not be *as* cold so the average temperature may skew up a bit...it wouldn't shock me if this February is one of the 20 coldest on record (29.5 is the "magic" number at PHL for a top 20 cold Feb).

 

Great stats!  I knew I remembered the 17th number - that makes sense.  It's hard to believe as bad as last year's was that it ranks so "neutral" in the overall chart.   Does that factor in only daily max, or is it max/min?  I.E. does the heat island skew the modern era to look warmer compared to the longer range history than it really is? If we were to use Ray's example of Allentown, or more rural less-islandy areas, it still come in somewhere around 45th, or does it rank higher? 

 

OTOH, that Feb stat is darned impressive, ranking top 20 including "The Little Ice Age" is pretty stark if it verifies.

 

 

Not sure where a good thread is for this, so I'll just post it here.  But the past two years, the frequent, deep arctcic outbreaks have been caused by that persistent west ridge - and it even set up in the summer as well.  At this point is there any speculation as to what keeps holding that in place and if there's anything on the horizon that may budge it and change up the pattern?

 

On the banter thread we were talking about the idea of a space weather thread and solar influence etc.  And last year had very low solar activity, this year had very low solar activity - both very cold years for us (if warm,  elsewhere.) And of course The Little Ice Age had every low solar activity.  I'm not sure if the minimum is too young to really be affecting anything down here, or if that's related or not.  And that may be more a question for NASA than NWS ;)

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Great stats!  I knew I remembered the 17th number - that makes sense.  It's hard to believe as bad as last year's was that it ranks so "neutral" in the overall chart.   Does that factor in only daily max, or is it max/min?  I.E. does the heat island skew the modern era to look warmer compared to the longer range history than it really is? If we were to use Ray's example of Allentown, or more rural less-islandy areas, it still come in somewhere around 45th, or does it rank higher? 

 

OTOH, that Feb stat is darned impressive, ranking top 20 including "The Little Ice Age" is pretty stark if it verifies.

 

 

Not sure where a good thread is for this, so I'll just post it here.  But the past two years, the frequent, deep arctcic outbreaks have been caused by that persistent west ridge - and it even set up in the summer as well.  At this point is there any speculation as to what keeps holding that in place and if there's anything on the horizon that may budge it and change up the pattern?

 

On the banter thread we were talking about the idea of a space weather thread and solar influence etc.  And last year had very low solar activity, this year had very low solar activity - both very cold years for us (if warm,  elsewhere.) And of course The Little Ice Age had every low solar activity.  I'm not sure if the minimum is too young to really be affecting anything down here, or if that's related or not.  And that may be more a question for NASA than NWS ;)

 

Since the heat island does affect night-time temps, it also affects average temps, so there is definitely a bit of skewing.

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