Sunday, 8 March 2015

Winter timeline 2014/2015

Just for the record – the recent winter was preceded by an abnormally warm autumn. Key milestones in the run-up to the proper winter were:

24 September 2014
When the morning was cold enough (below +10C) to wear a coat for the first time since early May.

4 October 2014
First ground frost on the suburbs of Warsaw, official reading from Okęcie weather station however, reported day-time low of +1.5C.

14 October 2014
The last time I could go to work in a suit only (day-time low of +12.9C), hardly ever possible in October.

23 October 2014
Temperature drop compels me take out an overcoat from the closet (+3C in the morning).

24 October 2014
A mass of Arctic air comes over. First proper frost (-2.6C). Mornings are frosty until 30 October.

5 November 2014 and 6 November 2014
Two extraordinarily balmy and clement days with day-time highs of respectively +18.5C and +18.6C, 0.3C short of Warsaw’s temperature record for November set on 1 November 2001.

19 November 2014 – 22 November 2014
First whiff of winter in north-eastern Poland. Warsaw is intact by snowfalls (I have not witnessed a single snowflake), but 200 km from the capital of Poland snow cover reached almost 20 centimetres.

25 November 2014
Overnight sleet / snow blizzard brings… less than a centimetre of wet snow, which by late morning melts, since the temperature is above freezing. I would not call it a proper winter. I believe it is a freak of late autumn; gloomy, foggy late autumn.

26 November 2014 – 27 November 2014
Chilly, gloomy, wet (but almost without precipitation, except for some little sleet and few snowflakes), temperature near zero.

28 November 2014 – 30November 2014
Not a full blown, yet it’s winter. Below-freezing temperatures all time round are amplified by easterly gusty winds, so while –5C is normally bearable, it feels like below –15C. Not a single snowflake falls on the ground, yet we could do with some snow to protect earth from freezing deep.

November 2014 stood a chance of being the warmest since records began (it would have to beat the +7.5C record of November 1926). However the extraordinarily hot first half was followed by chilly second half and the last days brought temperature several degrees below long-term averages. All in all, the temperature over the whole month averaged out +4.8C, vs. long-term mean of +3.2, so November 2014 was categorised as warm. Stats:
- month-time high: +18.6C on 6 November 2014
- month-time low: –8.0C on 30 November 2014 (cold, but on 30 November 2010 temperature dropped to –11.5C)
- the warmest day: 6 November 2014 (daily average of +13.7C)
- the coldest day: 30 November 2014 (daily average of –6.7C)

1 December 2014 – 3 December 2014
Three snow-free, yet frosty days, with the middle one enriched with magnificent sunshine. Between –7C and 0C.

4 December 2014 – 5 December 2014
Getting warmer, light frost at night, slightly above freezing during the day. No proper winter in sight.

6 December 2014 – 7 December 2014
Dull weekend. Cloudy, with freezing drizzle at times, temperature very close to +1C. Worth noting freezing precipitation hinders lives of motorists and pedestrians in most parts of Poland, leaving the capital nearly unaffected.

8 December 2014 – 9 December 2014
Temperature swings up and down, cutting across freezing point. Damp, yet without noteworthy precipitation.

Night brings thick fogs which, when temperature drops to –5C set hard rime and make roads treacherously slippery. Drivers have to watch out…

11 December 2014 – 12 December 2014
Thaw takes over… Brought be southerly wind, blowing more gustily hour by hour.

13 December 2014
Southerly winds do not ease up, but keep temperature higher than +5C all over the day… No forecast mentions any sign of proper winter by the end of the year.

14 December 2014 – 25 December 2014
Warm (up to +12C, all the time above freezing), windy (speed up to 90 kmph) and rainy (on 22 and 23 December Warsaw got more drenching than in September, October and November in total). Actually no sign of winter

26 December 2014
Winter gently marks its presence. Overnight rain turns into heavy snow, yet little of it lingers on the ground. Alas, some of the precipitation turns into ice. Around noon skies clear up and Warsaw enjoys a few hours of sunshine. –4C in the afternoon.

27 December 2014 – 29 December 2014
Forecasters get it wrong. On each consecutive day it is supposed to be –5C over the day and sunny, in fact the temperature fails to rise above –7C and skies are overcast. To boot it snows a bit. Yet 1 or 2 centimetres of snow do not give sufficient protection from freezing up to soil and plants.

30 December 2014
Finally skier clear over and scarce sunbeams brighten up the day. The drawback is temperature, –11C in the morning and no higher than –8C in early afternoon and dropping to –10C after sunset.

31 December 2014
Last days of the year lay bare very poor performance of meteorologists. Mere two days earlier they predicted double-digit frost on New Year’s night. For the last day of the year they predicted freezing drizzle and fortunately got it wrong as well. The outturn is that winter falls back to give way to late autumn (or is it pre-spring?).

December 2014 was slightly warm. Average temperature in Warsaw was +0.8C (vs. long-term average of –0.7C) and exactly as high as in December 2008. Temperature tended to go into both extreme, snow was seen seldom and in scarce amounts. Stats:
- month-time high: +11.9C on 19 December 2014
- month-time low: –11.0C on 30 December 2014 (could have been worse)
- the warmest day: 19 December 2014 (daily average of +9.5C)
- the coldest day: 30 December 2014 (daily average of –8.4C)

1 January 2015 – 3 January 2015
Thaw comes over. Ugly, rainy and particularly windy, hence warmth cannot be even felt.

4 January 2015
After a relatively sunny day, a snow blizzard hits around 4 p.m. It brings little snow, but the white powder lingers despite +2C temperature. Winds have waned a bit, but still are gusty.

5 January 2015
Yesterday’s snow is gone. Between –1C and +1C, rather sunny, winds further wane. At 9:20 p.m. a veritable blizzard hits Warsaw and brings some three centimetres of snow within half an hour. Some of it melts since it’s still +1C. Despite evening hour and long weekend, snow plays havoc with the traffic.

6 January 2015
Perfect winter. Light dusting of snow, cloudless skies from dawn to dusk, still air, day-time high of –6C. This short-lasting winter incident has been brought in by anti-cyclone, drawing in continental air to Poland. Why we enjoy single-digit frost, temperature in Eastern Ukraine drops well below –20C at nights.

7 January 2015
Indeed, –12C at the crack of dawn. Skies cloud over around midday, but it doesn’t snow. No warmer than –6C, but thaw’s in the offing.

8 January 2015
-4C in the morning, but +1C in late afternoon. Winter incident lasted two and a half days…

9 January 2015
Overnight snow and freezing rain falling in positive temperature on frozen ground make several ice rinks. Besides, thaw is in overdrive. In rains, the wind blows… Late autumn returns.

10 January 2015
+4C and rainy. Another winter storm draws in. After sunset gusts of wind get more intense, rain pours down and temperatures shoots up to +12C…

11 January 2015 – 18 January 2015
Big thaw. Above zero all the time, with short exceptions of tiny morning frosts, temperatures reaching up to +10C, sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy, odd drizzle, at times windy.

19 January 2015
After eight days with no trace of winter freezing for in the morning (-2C) seems noteworthy.

20 January 2015
Little flurry in the morning, 0C. Over the day temperature goes up and within a few hours the snow melts… Just another gentle whiff of winter.

21 January 2015 – 22 January 2015
If in the brightest moments of the previous week it felt like early spring, these days it feels like the third decade of November…

23 January 2015 – 24 January 2015
Occasional sleet and freezing drizzle. Near 0C. Temperature has actually settled near 0C and in the coming day is unlikely to deviate from the point of freezing.

25 January 2015
It snowed all night but little of the white powder lingered since temperature was just above 0C. It snows all day but snow cover begins to accumulate in late afternoon when temperature reaches –1C. By evening some one centimetre of snow lies on the ground.

26 January 2015 – 30 January 2015
Temperature hovering around zero, deviating by no more than 4 degrees upward nor downward. Occasional flurry, however they tend to occur when it is above freezing, hence snowflakes do not catch eye for more than two or three hours.

I dare to say this has not been foreseen. Temperature typical: 0C, thick, wet snow falls from the sky. Slush on the roads. By 9 a.m. it ceases to snow, by midday some of it melts, but white cover linger till late evening.

January 2015 was warm. Average temperature in Warsaw was +1.4C (vs. long-term average of –1.9C). Weather in that month could be described as mild winter (note month-time low was remarkably high) with one episode of abnormal warmth in the second decade. Still it failed to beat January 1983 and January 2007, when mean temperatures stood above +3.0C. Stats:
- month-time high: +11.5C on 10 January 2015
- month-time low: –12.5C on 7 January 2015 (within 3 days temperature rose by 24 degrees!)
- the warmest day: 13 January 2015 (daily average of +7.2C)
- the coldest day: 7 January 2015 (daily average of –8.5C)

1 February 2015
Spirit lifting-weather. Cloud-free sky from dawn to dusk, nine hours of sunshine a temperature reaching up to +4C… First whiff of spring in the air, but it’s just a short spell of fine weather. Mild winter about to return soon.

2 February 2015 – 4 February 2015
Weather having a tilt at winter, since average daily temperatures are below zero, yet since fine weather continues, sunbeams warm up air in afternoons up to +3C. All snows melt…

5 February 2015
Overnight supply of fresh snow brings some one centimetre of flurry. Worth noting we haven’t seen a proper snowfall playing havoc with the traffic this winter. Below zero this time…

6 February 2015
Quite nice light winter. Not above zero even during the sunny afternoon, short of new snow…

7 February 2015
Little snow has fallen overnight, some snowflakes fly around before midday as well, most of it melts. In the afternoon wind picks up speed and its gusts become audible. Before long more white powder is to come.

8 February 2015
Forecasters warned of snow blizzard bringing up to 10 centimetres of fresh snow. In fact sunny intervals take turns with intermittent snow showers… Because temperature oscillates around freezing, snow disappears quickly.

9 February 2015
Snow shower commences shortly before 6 a.m. and continues incessantly until midday. At times precipitation is quite intense and snow cover reaches record-high (this winter) level of 4 (four) centimetres. In the afternoon when temperatures rises to +1C it turns into slush. Drizzle in the evening.

10 February 2015 – 12 February 2015
Grey, miserable, yet dry and relatively warm (not a moment with sub-zero temperature)… Pre-spring?

13 February 2015 – 14 February 2015
First whiff of veritable spring. Not a single cloud occluding clear, blue skies means large temperature fluctuations – mornings bring frost of some –4C, but sunbeams quickly warm the air up to almost double digits in afternoons.

15 February 2015
Marvellous weather was forecast to continued, while the actual weather is a huge letdown. Low-lying clouds make the day dull, temperature does not rise above 0C, chilly wind makes being in the open air unpleasant…

16 February 2015 – 18 February 2015
Again sunny, yet these days chilly. Around –5C shortly before sunrise, slightly above zero during afternoon hours…

19 February 2015
Morning brings +1C, but beware. Before dawn rain has fallen on cold ground and froze up. Roads and pavements which have not been salted are not just slippery, they are dangerously slippery. And then it gets warmer…

20 February 2015 – 28 February 2015
Just like in the same period in 2014. Not a sign of winter in sight, yet not a proper spring. Sunny days commence with frosty mornings, while if the weather is dull, it can well above zero all the time. But during the whole period temperature never reached double digits...

February 2015 was slightly warm. Average temperature in Warsaw was +1.1C (vs. long-term average of –1.0C), it might come as surprise this February turned out to have been colder than +1.8C measured in February 2014, and was 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: +9.4C on 20 February 2015
- month-time low: –6.0C on 17 February 2015
- the warmest day: 26 February 2015 (daily average of +5.6C)
- the coldest day: 6 February 2015 (daily average of –2.5C)

Almost -4C before dawn, but then temperature shoots up to +10C. Worth mentioning dry spells continues and we could do with some precipitation as dried-up soil longs for rain.

2 March 2015
A noteworthy event is the first storm this year which breaks out over Warsaw in the afternoon when temperature reaches +6C. The last day when it's balmy before a short relapse of near-winter.

3 March 2015
Light frost in the morning, sunshine before midday, two snow blizzards in the afternoon. +4C so the snow doesn't linger.

4 March 2015
Morning greets Warsaw with sleet, then thick, wet snowflakes which later turn into drizzle. +1C in the morning and warmer over the day, so whatever falls quickly disappears.

5 March 2015 – 6 March 2015
Frosty, foggy mornings, dull and chilly days. Drifting between winter and spring.

7 March 2015
Morning brings positive temperature which goes up to almost double digits in the afternoon, yet sky remains overcast...

8 March 2015
Enough is enough (+13C, but sky is overcast, at odds with weather forecasts predicting clear-blue skies). Time to declare the winter is over. Long-term forecasts in unison foresee above-average temperature in the coming two weeks, sub-zero temperatures might sometimes appear in the mornings, yet I'm pretty sure the winter will not return for one simple reason: it has nowhere to come from. In Russia and in Scandinavia winter has fallen back.

Winter of 2014/15 was beyond all doubt the mildest documented on the series of winter timelines. Two figures best prove its mildness: the lowest temperature was only -12.5C (in warm winter 2007/08 it was around -13C, a year earlier temperature once dropped to -15C), the highest snow cover: mere 4 centimetres. So in short: almost snow-free, warm, but with steady temperature far from heat records. Looking forward to witnessing more such winters.

1 comment:

Michael Dembinski said...

My favourite post of the whole year - I'm waiting for this one! In years to come, this will be a benchmark for any climate change arguments.