Sunday, 18 March 2012

Winter timeline

From early September forecasters scared us with predictions of the harshest winter in the current millennium (second in a row). Their prophecies were allegedly backed by sudden shift from warm late summer, lasting until 6 October 2011, to chilly autumn, followed by first frost on 16 October. The first blow of arctic air brought temperatures atypical for October (-3.2C daytime low on 16 October, sub-zero temperatures over next two days), then another cold snap came on 22 October and 23 October. No such thing as warm Polish gold autumn was seen in October 2011. Average temperature of the month was +8.5C (vs. long-term /1981-2010/ average of +8.5), but if it had not been for the first six days of October when average temperatures were typical for August, the month would have been recorded as cold.

November 2011 had a quite balmy and sunny start, with month-time high of +14.7C recorded on 5 November 2011. Next two weeks brought below-average temperatures and continuation of dry weather (precipitation in many parts of Poland was record-low). Two coldest mornings were 12 November 2011 (low of -5.3C) and 23 November 2011 (low of –5.7C). Some parts of Warsaw were covered with a thin layer of snow grains in the morning on 17 November 2011, but this was not the first snow that marks the beginning of Student SGH’s winter timeline. In the last days of November North Atlantic Oscillation perked up for good (Atlantic had been dormant from September until the end of October) and brought above-average temperatures again. All in all, average temperature of November 2011 was +3.0 (vs. long-term average of +3.1C); average temperature was typical, yet deviations from mean were a bit unusual.

First decade of December 2011 was marked by weather typical for early November. Average daily temperatures hovered much above 0C. 12 December 2011 saw first hard frost since almost three weeks (in the morning temperature dropped to –4.0C), but then glorious warmth returned for a few days. Meteorologists got it right by predicting that first signs of winter would show up before Christmas.

20 December 2011
No such joke. In the morning temperature drops to –7.5C. Not unbearable, no wind chill, no snow disrupting traffic, but the winter has put its foot down. Around 8 p.m. it begins to snow. On my way from work I see snow ploughs pouring grit on ul. Puławska. This year road clearance services are planning to surprise the winter.

21 December 2011
A picturesque morning. Everything is swathed in a fog, limiting visibility to some 400 metres. Roads are slippery. Temperature of –2C and one-centimetre layer of snow means no assault, but gentle greeting by the coldest of all seasons of the year. I’m having a day off and after doing all household chores, I may lap up glorious weather (sunshine, -1C – the first day of winter 2011/2012 when temperature does not creep above zero).

22 December 2011
One more frosty morning, it’s –7C when astronomical winter begins. Over the whole day temperature stays much below zero, sky’s overcast and the day is generally dull.

23 December 2011
Frost is slowly retreating, even overnight temperature slowly rises and makes it above freezing in the afternoon, when some sunrays emerge from behind the clouds.

24 December 2011
Another Christmas thaw sets in. In the morning falling drizzles freezes on roads, pavements and my tiled stairs. Everything is slippery and drivers have to be very careful. The Christmas Eve is, just as almost every year, gloomy – fog and drizzle take over.

25 December 2011
An ordinary Christmas day. While on a walk, I spot first buds on several trees. This does not augur well; if proper winter comes, plants will suffer. Or are these the first intimations of spring? How come? Over the past week temperature was usually below freezing and today it’s mere +2C (with wind chill below zero).

26 December 2011
Balmy. +8C from 11:00 until late afternoon, sunbeams hidden behind the clouds. It’s much better than snow and/or frost, but I’m longing for a bit of sunshine. Darkness and gloom no longer lift my spirits.

27 December 2011
No, I haven’t had enough of the gloom. This is kind of weather I like – typical British winter – in the afternoon temperature tops +9C and watch out, day-time low is +8.2C! Drizzle, wind, clouds, may this weather not give way to winter!

28 December 2011
Getting colder. Skies unexpectedly (forecasters failed to predict it) cleared up at night and temperature fell to –1C before dawn. Car covered by frozen rain took me aback in the morning. I couldn’t open any, except for driver’s, door and layer of ice was so rough that I couldn’t scrape it. While waiting for over ten minutes until the car defrosts itself I took delight in beautiful sunrise. Over the day sky clouded over. Day-time high still well above long-term average: +8.2C.

29 December 2011
Could these days be lit up? Saw some sunrays in the afternoon and enjoyed the warmth again – temperature fluctuating around +5C.

30 December 2011
Wind chill – today movements of air reminded me how it feels. In the morning it was just 0C, but felt like –10C – unpleasant.

31 December 2011
Second light dusting of snow this winter lingers just for a few hours and is washed away by rain. In the afternoon skies clear up. In the evening temperature plummets and freezing fog hovers. Temperature of some –4C, just like last year.

December 2011 was very warm. Average temperature in Warsaw was +2.6C (vs. long-term average of –0.7C), it was the fourth warmest December after World War II (3rd rank goes to December 1960 (+2.8C), 2nd was December 1971 (+3.0C), the warmest (+4.0C) December was in 2006). Stats:
- month-time high: +10.0C on 2 December 2011
- month-time low: -7.5C on 20 December 2011
- the warmest day: 27 December 2011 (daily average of +8.5C)
- the coldest day: 22 December 2011 (daily average of –4.3C)

1 January 2012
Oh, late morning relieves the pain of many by greeting with beautiful sunshine and temperature jumping above zero. Great portent of the new year in weather. Weather stats say it was –5C overnight.

2 January 2012
Cloudy, rainy, depressing, but very warm, as for January, day – in the afternoon day-time and quite probably month-time high of +9.1C. From now it will be only colder and all forecasts warn of light winter next week.

3 January 2012 – 4 January 2012
Slightly colder, with occasional wind chill. The world stays dim, although distance between Earth and Sun is the lowest over the year.

5 January 2012
To put it briefly, blustery & sleet. Temperatures more typical for early January (between 0C and +3C). This year again the early-January cold snap doesn’t hit Warsaw.

6 January 2012 – 7 January 2012
Morning light snow showers don’t disrupt anything, as temperature is most of the time slightly above zero. Yet outside it’s anything, but pleasant – chilly wind makes the real feel below –5C.

8 January 2012
25 years ago, on 8 January 1987 temperature in Warsaw dropped to –30.7C, post-WW2 low. Today it doesn’t even bother to fall below freezing. Morning – gloomy, before midday – sunny intervals, afternoon – summer-like downpour. Soil needs rain after autumn drought.

9 January 2012 – 10 January 2012
Winter slowly creeps in. Temperatures most of the day are slightly above zero, but this won’t last long. In less than a week proper winter (not sleet and –1C in the morning) should be here.

11 January 2012 – 13 January 2012
Last days when staying in Warsaw one can take delight in very late autumnal warmth. On 12 January temperatures tops +7C, while the next day in the evening it hovers near zero. Proper winter comes along, but it doesn’t appear to be very harsh…

14 January 2012
Light winter – light dusting of snow, light frost in the morning that melts over the day, not that light snow shower in the late afternoon.

15 January 2012
Long live the beauty of (light) winter. –3C in the morning. Howling wind has ceased, some 3 centimetres of snow linger, sky is partly cloudy, there’s no need to drive anywhere. Over the day wind speeds up, day-time high is –2C, with wind chill of –8C. Upside – over an hour of glorious sunshine in the afternoon. Forecasters’ models have changed their mind – thaw is due around 20 January and over one wintry week it should be no colder than –10C.

16 January 2012
I’ve had enough of winter. In the morning temperature hits –7C, but really bothersome is the snow falling from early morning until late afternoon. I’d rather opt for clear skies and below –10C at dawn. At least shovels and snowploughs don’t have to be used.

17 January 2012
Great stuff. Snow showers ceased yesterday in the afternoon, air is dry and clear, temperature in the morning falls to mere –6C, day brings glorious sunshine, little snow on the ground doesn’t melt…

18 January 2012
In the morning –8C, accompanied by still air. Day-time, however, was not hit just before sunrise, but soon after midnight. Records from weather station on Warsaw airport read minimum temperature of –10.1C – first double-digit frost this winter! Before midday Warsaw is paralysed by a three-hour-long snow shower. Most of it melts, as later on temperature rises above zero.

19 January 2012
Only morning brings wet flurry and very light frost. This follow by moderate thaw which melts much of the snow. In the evening wet snow comes over again…

20 January 2012
Thaw and Warsaw’s overcome by it. Nobody bothers to get to grips with slush, so pedestrians have waddle ankle-deep in a blend of snow, mud, grit and water. Evening brings some snow showers, temperature around 0C

21 January 2012
Thaw continues – temperature between 0C and +1C linger for the whole day. Not a big melt anyway. Forecasters’ models clearly indicate high pressure system over Russia is building up…

22 January 2012
I wake up to behold the biggest snow precipitation this winter – some 5 centimetres of wet, heavy snow. Clearing this takes me over an hour but weather helps do the job – temperature doesn’t drop below zero from dawn to dusk, daytime high of +3C.

23 January 2012
The last day with positive temperature in the morning and gloom in the air… In the evening it begins to snow.

24 January 2012
Thin layer of snow fallen overnight plays havoc with everything. It takes me around a quarter to defrost the car (or rather wait until it defrosts itself, as scraping and using de-icer goes in vain), then I find the padlock of the gate frozen…

25 January 2012
Yesterday was the last day with at least little thaw. Today the frost is light, no worse than –4C, but it chills me when I see the high pressure system over North-Western Russia…

26 January 2012
Not very cold, just –4C in the morning, flurry from 6:30 to 11:30 paralyses Warsaw during morning rush hours. I slowly make it to P&R before it gets really nasty. In the evening car thermometer reads –8C, easterly wind is gusty – wind chill according to Okęcie weather station is –22C! And the cold snap has not perked up for good… Weather forecasts say the frost won’t ease until 12 February (with hindsight – what a perfect prediction!). The worst is said to come between 3 February and 8 February – down to ghastly –18C overnight…

27 January 2012
Chilly morning, below –11C at dusk and clear skies. Easterly winds keep blowing in frosty air from over Russia. Daytime high hits –8C, if you take shelter from the wind, it’s even warm…

28 January 2012
One step closer to the chill –13C in the morning, no more than –7C over the day. Gorgeous sunlight from dawn to dusk.

29 January 2012
Getting colder day by day, temperature is one degree lower than yesterday, so –14C in the morning, then with time surface of earth is heated by ever-higher-rising sun and temperature in early afternoon reaches –6C, just to retreat thereafter.
Weather forecast chop and change, now the frost is to reach its nadir on Thursday and hit some –22C in Warsaw. Then meteorologist project a veritable hell – temperatures below –10C accompanied by intense snow – I hope it doesn’t happen, as it would paralyse the whole country. Mere snow when it’s above –10C is OK, harsh frost without snow also, but the two combined is a recipe for a disaster.

30 January 2012
Just another day of big freeze. This is the time when each day a previous day’s cold record is broken. In the morning it’s –15C and so many people gripe about the cold. Rails crack, buses don’t run, water pipes burst, cars go into flames. Daytime high of –8C.

31 January 2012
Normally when the Russian high comes over, the air is still. Not this time! Chilly wind is still gusty. –16C in the morning and wind chill of –25C. Ghastly, but shining sun is beautiful. Days are visibly longer…

January 2012 was normal. Average temperature in Warsaw was -0.9C (vs. long-term average of –1.9C). This is the power of statistics – we had very warm first half of the months and anomalously cold five last days – and the average shows it was a typical January. Stats:
- month-time high: +9.1C on 2 January 2012
- month-time low: -16.3C on 31 January 2012
- the warmest day: 4 January 2012 (daily average of +6.5C)
- the coldest day: 31 January 2012 (daily average of –12.7C)

1 February 2012
The last month of calendar winter kicks off and generously bestows us with frost. In the morning –18C, over the day wind is not as obtrusive as it used to be. Over the day no warmer than –12C. Big freeze is approaching its climax…

2 February 2012
Well, -19.7C according to official records from the weather station in Okęcie is no fun any more. The coldest afternoon during the cold wave – no warmer than –14.6C officially. Sunshine, pink sky at sunset. Feels like Siberia. We’ll ride it out…

3 February 2012
Ooops… -23.1C is an official reading from W-wa Okęcie weather station, my car thermometer shows –24C, on the eastern suburbs of Warsaw temperature drops to –26C. As cold as in late January 2010. It’s not that bad in Warsaw, in Białystok temperature drops to –30C, somewhere beyond it in the sticks it must be well below –30C… Again sunshine and little chance for much warmer weather in the coming days. Just realised I’d never been exposed to such cold before! In 2006 I didn’t go out in the morning when it was below –25C…

4 February 2012
One degree warmer than yesterday and no major changes in the weather. It should get warmer day by day, but… Forecasters whisper something about snow showers… At least, unlike in many parts of Europe, there has been no snowfall in Warsaw for several days, while blizzards have wreaked havoc to many other European capitals and their inhabitants, not accustomed by harsh winter conditions.

5 February 2012
In terms of weather… We’re watching history of climatologic in Poland (and Europe) in the making, but I’ve had enough of the frost. –19C at dawn, -14C in the afternoon. When I look outside the window, spring creeps up – how misleading! And another frosty night ahead!

6 February 2012
There always must be that first time. Till today I’d never seen snow falling in the temperature of –20C. Over the day it’s no warmer than –13C, but the worst (in terms of temperature) is over, while the snows are coming over.

7 February 2012
Morning: -13C, how balmy, even snow flurry doesn’t look like pain in the arse. Evening: -9C, how balmy, only single-digit frost!

8 February 2012
With day-time low and high respectively –12C and –5C it seems pleasantly warm, although only relatively… The worst seems gone, but temperatures nearing –20C at dawn are set to return around the weekend.

9 February 2012
Getting colder, again. –14C in the morning and –7C in early afternoon and the trend is downward. Warsaw, unlike many parts of Poland, has not been affected by snow showers. After a cold weekend, some snow precipitation is expected on 13 February.

10 February 2012
Well, the second, shorter and less severe wave of cold comes to Poland. –16C in the morning, clear skies. This will last for two days, then sunny and chilly winter will give way to light frost and snow flurries.

11 February 2012
Into the second cold wave: -19C in the morning and double-digit frost over the whole day. In the morning residents of many parts of Poland can observe diamond dust. Can’t wait to see temperature statistics for February 2012… Quite probably this will be the coldest month in this century and the coldest since infamous January 1987 (monthly average of –13.0C).

12 February 2012
The last morning (hopefully) that brings –20C. Then temperature shoots up: 7:00 –18.8C, 8:00 –15.3C, 9:00 –12.4C, 10:00 –10.0C, 11:00 –8.0C, but over the beautiful sunny day it’s no warmer than –6C. Coming days are said to bring much higher temperature and abound in snow showers.

13 February 2012
-10C in the morning and –5C in the afternoon let me officially declare the cold snap over. It lasted 17 days and was probably the longest since January 1987. Little harmless flurry.

14 February 2012
Single-digit frost – balmy (-2C in the afternoon). Forecasters scare with oncoming blizzards. Actually this winter snow hasn’t played havoc with traffic, so maybe mid-February is a good time to make up…

15 February 2012
This happens virtually every winter. There comes a day when a few centimetres of snow precipitation bring the city to a standstill. This winter it happened quite late, but morning saw horror on not cleared roads. I left the car at home not to exacerbate situation on the roads. I saved on petrol, but couldn’t say the day was anything but nice.
On my way home, when I was totally fucked-up by weather and goings-on at work, it occurred to me the snow has brought in beautiful landscapes. But –23C was not such nuisance as –3C and falling snow. At least when it was 20C colder I could move around easily… Snow ceases to fall around 8 p.m. Hoping for a better tomorrow…

16 February 2012
No snow overnight, -7C in the morning. Warsaw has somehow managed to cope with slush lingering on roads, main streets are (rather) clear, many pavements aren’t. Yesterday’s precipitation was 13 centimetres, so it could have been much worse. A cold night ahead (already –10C at 9 p.m.), and then waiting for the thaw, due over the weekend.

17 February 2012
-15C in the dead of night, -10C at the crack of down, flurry since sunrise, freezing drizzle at dusk and +1C in the evening. Thaw! Thaw! Thaw! After 22 days with sub-zero temperatures!

18 February 2012 – 19 February 2012
Gentle thaw – overcast sky and temperatures between 0C and +2C, on Sunday also rain showers. The winter’s come late and looks like it’s going to depart early. Freezing rain creates ice rinks on Sunday evening

20 February 2012
Mere –1C but everything’s slippery. Over the day – beautiful sunshine.

21 February 2012
Ever-earlier-beginning morning heralds a beautiful day – gold sky and –5C. Then skies cloud over and pre-spring semi-gloom lingers…

22 February 2012
First morning without frost since 23 January. Over the day gloomy and warm (+3C), in the evening, weather ideal for the ball at the Devil’s.

23 February 2012 – 25 February 2012
Temperatures above zero even at night, over the day up to balmy +10C. All the snows melt, spring can be felt in the air… Gusty wind signifies western oscillation has returned.

26 February 2012
Woken up by a howling wind at 7:30 a.m. I pull up the blind roller to behold a snow blizzard that lasts 30 minutes and brings two centimetres of white powder. The precipitation is followed by some three hours of beautiful sunshine, which in turn gives way to ugly late winter weather (0C, wind chill of –7C).

27 February 2012
Another morning heavy, yet short snow, this time it starts at 6:35, so during the morning rush hour. –2C in the morning, over the day I can see sun shining outside the window, but it’s not the greeting of spring – outside it’s +1C. I leave the office at time (for the first time since many days) and it’s still light (sunset at 17:12 in Warsaw today).

28 February 2012
Glorious morning: -7C, pink, then yellow sky, frost everywhere. Then it gets warmer, but not much above 0C and around midday it begins to snow and in the evening flurry turns into drizzle. Ghastly on pavements and roads…

29 February 2012 – 2 March 2012
The spring is in the air. The last day of February brings a whiff of true spring: +8C and sunshine, only March greets Warsaw with autumnal gloom, temperatures above zero all the time.

February 2012 was frosty. Average temperature in Warsaw was –6.2C (vs. long-term average of –1.0C), the coldest February in my lifetime. Again, mean temperature is blend of very frosty first 12 days, cold subsequent week and warm third decade. Stats:
- month-time high: +11.1C on 24 February 2012
- month-time low: -23.1C on 3 February 2012
- the warmest day: 24 February 2012 (daily average of +6.9C)
- the coldest day: 3 February 2012 (daily average of –18.5C)

3 March 2012 – 8 March 2012
High pressure system draws in chilly air from over Scandinavia. Sky is clear from dawn to dusk, but temperatures are typical for mild winter – a few degrees below zero at nights, with month-time low of –8C and from 0C to 5C over the day. No snow, sunbeams give spring-like warmth.

9 March 2012
Thick, thick, freezing fog lingers and limits visibility even to less than 200 metres. This looks rather like gloomy November, but spring equinox nears and weather like this will be rather infrequent in the coming months.

10 March 2012 – 11 March 2012
A weekend without frost (single-digit above zeros all the time), Saturday rainy, Sunday sunny, but windy. Long-term forecasts do not indicate winter can return at all. Sunny, dry and moderately warm days ahead.

12 March 2012
The last morning with frost (-2C). Well, time to declare the winter’s over…

The frost returned twice, once on 15 March and for the last time yesterday. Funnily enough, yesterday before dawn it was –1C and then temperature shot up to +20C in the afternoon to retreat to +6C at 9 p.m. Today it topped +18C, but the heat record for Warsaw (+23.0C on 21 March 1974) has not been beaten – hope the weather will catch up by the end of the month. This weekend beautifully farewells a late-coming, short, harsh, but not snowy winter.

For a good onset of spring – off w Polskę in business tomorrow!

2 comments:

Michael Dembinski said...

Excellent! I'll link this to my blog at the end of winter - tomorrow evening!

stacey green said...

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