Sunday, 16 March 2014

Winter timeline 2013/14

The departing winter is definitely the mildest of those documented in form of weather diary posted on this blog. On average, it was warmer than average and less snowy than average, but its proper stint, lasting some three weeks, gave us all a rough ride. Double-digit frosts persisted for the whole third decade of January, gusty wind brought down perceivable temperature even to ghastly –30C. We had two incidences of freezing rain in temperature of some –5C, but did without heavy snowfalls. Much earlier than in 2013, the time to declare the winter is over, has come.

I must sadly admit my camera, although in full working condition, has spent last months in a drawer, even with a battery disassembled. I somehow did not feel the need to take snap, did not carry it along, hence the timeline will only be supplemented with links to fellow bloggers’ posts, evidencing spells of weather from the recent months.

Hot summer swiftly gave way to gloomy and chilly autumn. First frost was recorded on 4 October 2013, when temperature in Warsaw dipped to –2.0C. Second and third decade of October were in turn warmer than average, with month-time high of +21.7C on 27 October 2013.

November 2013 went down in history of weather in Warsaw as almost frost-free. First sub-zero temperatures were noted in the last week of the month and not a single snowflake was witnessed. Temperature averaged out +5.6C, 0.2C colder than a year earlier and notably warmer than long-term average of +3.2C.

4 December 2013
Snow begins to fall around 9 p.m. and doesn’t melt, some 0C.

5 December 2013
Not a trace left after yesterday’s snow. Slightly above zero over the day. A first winter storm is setting in.

Ghastly attack of winter. Temperature slightly below 0C, wind chill of –10C, gusty wind, snow showers and occasional blizzards. 4 centimetres of white powder manage to paralyse the traffic, leaving roads and pavements treacherously slippery.

Still blustery, yet the hurricane is wearing off. Little or no flurry, temperature above zero over the day. The storm has wreaked havoc to several households across the country. Mine has not had full electricity (2 out of 3 phases not working) for the second day.

8 December 2013
Glorious winter. Sunshine from dawn to dusk, no colder than –5C, but not above freezing as well. Full electricity supply resumed at 3:40 p.m. Snowfalls begin in the evening

9 December 2013
+4C in the morning. No trace of yesterday’s snow. Gloomy autumn returns.

10 December 2013 – 15 December 2013
No point in writing a diary. Every single day is grey, short, miserable and, weather-wise, depressing – slightly above zero all the time, fogs lingering, not a single sunbeam lighting up the shortest days of the year.

16 December 2013 – 19 December 2013
Frosty at nights, above zero during short days. More frequent than intermittent spells of sunshine lift spirits. No sign of winter in long-term forecasts.

20 December 2013

21 December 2013 – 22 December 2013
For a change, sunny, with southerly winds and day-time high of +5C on Saturday and +8C on Sunday. Only length of the day reminds it’s winter actually.

23 December 2013
One day when it gets dull, despite no sunshine (and no rain as well) it is well above zero.

24 December 2013 – 26 December 2013
The annual weather pattern is a Christmas thaw – last year after wintery pre-Christmas weekend (double-digit frost, cloudless skies) temperature shot up from –4C on Christmas Eve morning to +5C in the evening. Last Christmas with actual winter (both snow and subzero temperatures) was observed in Warsaw in 2002.
2013 Christmas will be not only one of the warmest (day-time high nearing +10C), but high temperatures, unlike in most years, are accompanied by clear skies and sunshine. Lovely ;-)

27 December 2013 – 30 December 2013
What’s the point in writing the winter timeline, if there’s no winter???

31 December 2013
-5C in the morning… Chill makes itself felt after several abnormally warm days. Still, it’s not the proper winter.

December 2013 was very warm. Average temperature in Warsaw was +2.4C (vs. long-term average of –0.7C). Much warmer than a year ago, but 0.2C colder than in 2011 and 1.6C colder than record-warm December 2006. Stats:
- month-time high: +10.5C on 28 December 2013 (unsurprisingly, around Christmas)
- month-time low: –5.5C on 10 December 2013 (as for the low, very high)
- the warmest day: 26 December 2013 (daily average of +7.4C, funnily enough, 26th day was also the warmest in December 2012, when temperature averaged out +5.6C)
- the coldest day: 10 December 2013 (daily average of –2.5C, while on the colder day in December 2012 it was –12.5C)

1 January 2014 – 11 January 2014
Over that period:
- temperature did not drop below 0C (except for five hours between 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on 2 January 2014, when temperature hovered between –2C and 0C),
- not a single snowflake fell,
hence no winter.

12 January 2014,
above zero, yet windy and sleet making any outing unpleasant. A gentle spell of winter sets in.

13 January 2013 – 14 January 2014
Temperature fluctuating around zero, yet without falling snow. Wind chill makes it a few degrees below zero.

15 January 2014
In the morning – ugly autumn, +1C and drizzle. Over the day rain turns into snow and temperature drops. In the evening it’s –3C and some three centimetres of snow linger on the ground. Not really ghastly. Roads are properly salted and traffic is no worse than usual, but pavements are a different story – most resemble ice rinks… One more time pedestrians are second category citizens, inferior to motorists.

16 January 2014
Yesterday’s snow has settled, not a single snowflake drops from the sky. Below zero. Winter, mild. Flurry in the evening.

17 January 2014
Three centimetres of white powder have accumulated overnight. Roads are anything but clear. Over the day temperature rises from –3C to slightly above zero around midday. Snow turns into icy rain, then regular downpour. Fortunately, the ground has not frozen up and fallen water does not freeze as well.

18 January 2014
Another snowfall-free, foggy day with subzero temperatures.

19 January 2014
How I wish abundant flurry could come over only during weekend. First little snow blizzard hits on Sunday morning and despite –5C turns into freezing rain. This rare phenomenon happens when a warm mass of air comes over the colder one. Ghastly, roads and pavements are damn slippery.

-6C and freezing drizzle. Infrequent spell of weather wreaks havoc with transport – roads and pavements covered with black ice, cars users who keeps their vehicles in the open air have to scrape a thick layer of ice off windows, some have problems getting into cars. Some trains are stationary due to iced wires.

21 January 2014
-8C all the time, wind chill of –20C. Grisly, but at least nothing precipitates from the sky. A cold snap is in the offing.

22 January 2014
Double-digit sub-zero temperature for the first time this winter, -11C in the morning, three degrees warmer during the day. No snow, less gusty wind.

23 January 2014
Chill getting serious. –15C at the crack of down, temperature peaking in single-digit frost in the sunny afternoon, plummets after sunset, back to –15C at 10 p.m.

24 January 2014
Day-time low of –17C, but around 4 a.m. By the time most people set off from their warm dwellings, temperature goes up to –16C. In the afternoon it fails to creep up above –10C. Glorious sunshine all the time, but chilly wind persists.

This might be the coldest morning this winter. –18C in Warsaw, one degree colder in the suburbs. Still five degrees warmer than in early February 2012. Sunny all day. Snow showers to come on the next day, while frost should turn single-digit. Two major scenario for early February. Either balancing between thaw and mild winter or record-low temperatures blown in by powerful Siberian high pressure system.

26 January 2014
Flurry began yesterday in the evening and continues for the while day. Slightly warmer – around –10C. In such temperature snow is light and crisp so clearing is easy.

27 January 2014
Flurry in the morning. Flurry in the evening. Between –10C and –7C, wind chill below –20C.

28 January 2014 – 31 January 2014
Weather pattern stays the same – between –15C and –10C at night, day-time highs between –10C and –5C, gusty wind intensifying the perception of chill (even below –30C, the cold is piercing). Intermittent light or not snow showers add to misery… I’ve had enough… On the last day of the month, snow depth reaches 21 centimetres.

January 2014 was normal. Average temperature in Warsaw was –2.6C (vs. long-term average of –1.9C). Mean temperature fails to exhibit contract between first 10 days of the month when temperature was abnormally high (average temperature +4.1C) and last 11 days of the month of the other extreme (average temperature: -10.3C) Stats:
- month-time high: +9.9C on 7 January 2014
- month-time low: –17.5C on 25 January 2014
- the warmest day: 10 January 2014 (daily average of +7.1C)
- the coldest day: 25 January 2014 (daily average of –14.8C)

Getting better. Single-digit frost at sunrise and howling wind is fading. Over the day sunny and temperature climbs towards –2C. Feels balmy.

2 February 2014
Relapse of freezing drizzle. –3C from dawn to dusk. Roads and pavements are again covered with thin layer of ice.

3 February 2014 – 7 February 2014
Thaw comes over. Over the whole week nights bring single-digit frosts, days are sunny and with temperatures above freezing. Getting warmer day by day. A few centimetres of snow linger by the end of the week.

8 February 2014
First frost-free night since four weeks. In the gloriously sunny, spring-like afternoon temperature peaks almost double-digits. No winter on the horizon, at least within the fortnight. And then? Last year in mid-February I thought any recurrence of winter would be short-lasting and fussy weather proved me wrong.

9 February 2014
Skies clear up before midday and day-time high reaches +8C. Pre-spring in the air…

10 February 2014 - 28 February 2014
Winter has fallen back for good. Over that period temperature does not drop below –5C, not a single snowflake is witnessed over the capital of Poland. The biggest mounds of frozen, dirty snow disappear after a week of thaw. Mornings of 23 February 2014 and 24 February 2014 bring picturesque freezing fog confining visibility to less than 100 metres. Bad weather for holidaymakers during the winter break in Warsaw (falling this year in the second half in July). Futile is the search of snow in Poland.

February 2014 was (only) slightly warm. Average temperature in Warsaw was +1.8C (vs. long-term average of –1.0C), higher than over recent 5 Februarys, but far from +3.6C reported in 2002 or +3.1C in 2008, not to mention record-high +4.6C measured in 1990. Stats:
- month-time high: +10.8C on 18 February 2014
- month-time low: –10.1C on 4 February 2014
- the warmest day: 20 February 2014 (daily average of +5.3C)
- the coldest day: 1 February 2014 (daily average of –5.8C)

First half of March 2014 fetched not a single scene of winter. Five mornings, precedent by cloud-free nights, greeted Warsaw with little frost (was no colder than –4C), but in the second decade, when warm mass of air from south-west drew in, temperatures in the afternoon reached +14C several times. The current weekend is blustery in chilly, but out of line with forecasters’ warnings, sleet was not witnessed in Warsaw. The coming weeks might still bring night-time frost or maybe even short-lasting snow showers, but the last gasp of winter was actually breathed over a month ago. Roll on spring and may such mild winters occur more often!

1 comment:

Michael Dembinski said...

Magisterial! Thank you once again Bartek for your summing up... That Was The Winter That Was :)

Future generations of Varsovians will have something to look back on.