For many East Texans, it was a cold and long winter that seemed would never end. Now that it is officially in our rear-view mirror, here are some interesting statistics that I thought you might find interesting regarding the number of freezes we saw and the average temperature that ultimately defines just how cold a winter season really was.
Spending Time in the Deep Freeze
The first thing I showed you from time-to-time on KTRE 9 News was the number of freezing nights we saw in Deep East Texas this past winter season. Barring a rare, late season freeze, we will end up with 42 days of temperatures dropping to or below 32° in this 2013-2014 winter season.
Keep in mind that we average 25 nights of freezing temperatures in a given year or winter season. We were clearly above average this year, as we had seventeen more days of freezing temperatures compared to what we see in a typical winter season.
One interesting thing to take note of is the number of freezes in this month of March, five, surpassed the number of freezes we saw the entire month of February, four. That's because we had that Arctic blast arrive on the second day of the month as March roared in like a lion. The image I've attached breaks down the number of freezes by month for your perusal.
On a relatively warmer note, the coldest night recorded this past winter season was a low temperature of only 18°. That's not all that cold and considering most of our sub-freezing temperatures consisted of readings in the middle and upper 20's, we did avoid some real hard, pipe busting, type of freezes.
So where does this winter season compare to other winter seasons of years past when looking at the number of freezes that took place?
After digging through lots of data from decades past, it turns out this year just missed the top ten. If we would have obtained just two more freezes, we would have moved into a four way tie for eighth place all time.
Here is a look at the top ten years that had the most number of freezes in Lufkin and Nacogdoches.
1.) 1978 with 78 days of temperatures at or below 32°.
2.) 1963 with 51 days
3.) 1989 with 49 days
4.) 1929 with 47 days
5.) 1951 and 1940 with 46 days
7.) 1996 with 45 days
8.) 1985, 1979, and 1964 with 44 occurrences.
Again, we just missed out on the top ten, but it was still one of the colder winters we have seen in recent time.
While the number of freezing nights is one indicator of how cold a winter may have been, it is not the number one parameter that is used.
Average Temperature Tells the True Story
We evaluate the coldest winters by looking at the average temperature from the three months that span from December through February. The average temperature is computed by taking the highs and lows and averaging them out.
After digging through this data, this winter ranks as the 20th coldest winter on record, dating all the way back to 1906. The average temperature for Deep East Texas from this past December through the end of February came to 49.1°, putting this past year in 20th place for coldest winters in the past 109 years. I know what you're thinking. It was only the 20th coldest? Keep in mind that this is over 109 years worth of data, so technically speaking, that puts this 2013-2014 winter season in the top 20% for coldest winters on record. That's still pretty cold, no matter how you slice the data.
As you can see in the other image, the coldest winter of all time was the three month period from December of 1977 through February of 1978, when the average temperature was 42.9°. What I found interesting was that just four years ago, 2010 had the fourth coldest average temperature during that three month time span, with an average temperature of 46.2°.
One of the Driest Winters on Record
With lots of cold air intrusions and a lack of moisture, we had the fifth driest winter season on record.
During the three month period from December through February, the Angelina County Airport only received 5.03" of rain, which was -7.46" below the average amount of rainfall we should receive during that time-frame.
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