“When Will It Warm Up?”

Interesting question from Danielle North this morning:  How many days this winter have we been below normal? I looked back through the data and found that during the period December 1st through March 4th we have been below normal 58 out of 94 days.  That’s 62% of the days since December 1st we’ve had a daily temperature below the average!

Here’s the breakdown by month

  • December: 16/31 days below average
  • January:  18/31 days below average
  • February: 20/28 days below average
  • March: 4/4 days below average

What is more interesting is the prolonged stretches and strength of the cold.  We have had multiple intrusions of cold Arctic air into New England this year including the effects of the Polar Vortex.  Pieces of the Polar Vortex moved southward during the winter resulting in bitterly cold air residing over most of the eastern United States.

Notable cold stretches this winter

December 7-18th: 12 day stretch of below normal temperatures including 6 days of 10° or colder than average.

December 31st to January 10th: 10/11 days below average including 5 days 10° or colder than average and one day of 20° colder than average.

January 21st – 26th: all below average including 6 days of 10° or more below average.

February 4th-19th: 15 out of 16 days below average with 4 days of 10° or more below average.

February 24th – March 4th**: 9 days below average including 6 days of 10° or more below average
**current 7day forecast calls for a stretch of below average temps into early next week.

So, we’ve had 30days when the temperature was 10-20° below average since December 1st.

Yesterday, I posted this graphic showing the Climate Predictions Center’s confidence in below average temperatures up until about St. Patrick’s Day….


Live Pinpoint Doppler 12: 7-Day Futurecast | Closings and Delays | WPRI.com Flight Tracker

Their confidence is pretty high.  Looking at the long range weather maps, I have no reason to disagree with their forecast.

The question I’ve had to answer dozens of times in the past week is “when will it warm up”?  I don’t really have good news for you here.  A climate model called the CFS (Climate Forecast System) is predicting below average temperatures through the rest of March.


Courtesy WxBell: CFS Average temperature at the end of March
Courtesy WxBell: CFS Temperature Departure from Normal at the End of March

In fact, temperatures are forecast to remain well below average….4-5° below the norm.  We may see one or two “bonus” days, but there isn’t a consistent period of near normal or above normal temperatures expected through March.

Here’s the good news…according to that same model, the CFS, there is an end to the cold in sight…

Courtesy WxBell: Temperature departure from normal
Courtesy WxBell: CFS Temperature Departure from Normal for the Beginning of April

Bottomline, according to this computer model, we won’t begin to see the cold air recede into Canada until April.  That doesn’t mean we won’t see a few days here and there of 50°, but consistent days of normal or above normal temperatures won’t arrive until April.  For those that enjoy the warmth, the CFS also predicts that above normal temperatures will stick around through the month of April.

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

8 thoughts on ““When Will It Warm Up?”

  1. TJ,

    Thanks for giving us such a detailed forecast everyday! One thing you didn’t mention for us snow lovers…will there be more snow???

  2. This blog post makes me feel even more validated, that I choose to
    Move to sunny/warm south Florida. Today’s high in Red Sox home away from home (fort Myers), was 87. Actually way above average for us (usually around 80-83 this time of the year). Hope you all have a early & long summer!!

  3. The NOAA climate prediction center had The Northeast US at Normal to slightly above normal until December when their metrics fell apart so their outlook is no more reliable than anyone else’s. Meanwhile, I hate the TV weather hysteria and sensationalism.

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