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Grading Winters

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Some of us were doing this in Banter last month, and I thought it could be fun to put this discussion in its own thread and give us something to talk about while we wait for our last fail of the season.  I am ranking the snow seasons since I moved to Carroll County for the 2006/7 season.  Keep in mind this is using my local climo which is around 40" avg for the 10 years I lived here.  


Snowfall total: 24.4

Biggest storms: 7.8" ice storm in Feb and 7" snowfall in March

Grade: C-  very cold period mid Feb through March and a lot of snow in the air but mostly missed out on the very big storms just to the north and December and January were a total wasteland.  



Biggest storms: 6.8" early December and 4.8" mid Janaury

Grade: D  Crap winter with long stretches of warm and nothing worth remembering



Biggest storms: 6.5" early March was the only storm of any note, the rest were 1-3" nickel and dime events

Grade: D colder then 08 with lots of 1-2" events but typical nina with no big storms and long stretches of boring.  


did something happen this year I can't remember....


Total: 101.3"

Biggest storms:  19" Dec HECS, 25.5" Feb 5, 30" Feb 9/10

grade: A+  101.3"!!!!!!!!!!


total: 37"

biggest storms: 12.5" late January, 6.8 late Feb

Grade: C+, some good cold snowy periods but it was SO SO close to being a big year and just missed


total: 19.5"

biggest snows: 8" in late October, nothing else worth mentioning

grade: D-, take away the October storm (one of my favorites) and it would be an F



biggest storms:6" early March, 5.8" late March

grade: C-, lost of small events, cold Feb and March but nothing extreme, just missed a couple bit storms


total: 88"

biggest storms: 24" mid Feb, too many other 6-10" storms to list

grade: A+, perfect combo of consistent cold and snow with one HECS storm to boot



biggest storms:12" early March, 8" 

Grade: B+, nice thanksgiving storm up here, then a pretty crappy first half but big second half and a TON of 1-3" storms sprinkled in with the 2 big ones, but it was so so close to being epic and just missed on a few bit storms early Feb or it would have been an A


total: 42.6"

biggest storms: 28" HECS, 7.5" early Feb

Grade: B, I can't go lower in a year with a HECS but there wasn't much else.  But I love big storms so I will take it.  


I am around 8" so far mostly all from 1-2" at a time crap and if no more snow falls this will be by far the worst season up here.  It would take at least an 8" storm for this season to avoid an F at this point.  



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I started keeping up with the weather in early 2002, so here I go:

01-02: D-

02-03: A+

03-04: B

04-05: B-

05-06: C+

06-07: B

07-08: D

08-09: D

09-10: A+

10-11: B+ where I live, D where I was when it mattered

11-12: D-

12-13: C-

13-14: A+

14-15: B+

15-16: B

16-17: F

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I'll do this for the winters I've been living in Prince Frederick... before that I was in Glen Burnie.


13/14: A-

Mostly saved by March, especially St. Patricks' Day. The late January storm was good too, but the mid-February storm sucked here. But I'll probably never see a March like that again.

14/15: B+ 

The paragon of backloaded winters: 2/14 - 3/7 period was awesome, but the rest of the winter sucked. I scored in different events from the cities and vice versa though- the two main events were President's Day and March 5, while the main event for the cities (2/21/15) was a total bust here. The cold and sustained snowcover was impressive and unlikely to be repeated while I'm living here.

15/16: A-

The January HECS may very well be the biggest storm I'll ever see here before I retire/move. President's Day was the biggest positive bust I've seen since January 2000 IMBY. Early March storm was nice. Freak 1.4" snow on April 9 which I'll also never see again. December sucked a big one though.

16/17: B-

Nice storm on January 7 and nice little event on January 30. I liked the February record-setting torch and the hailstorm- unlikely to see either of these again. Jury's still out on this one though.


Looking at the last four winters like this made me realize how extreme they've all been in some form or another. Odds are I'm unlikely to see anything resembling these winters again.

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Moved to my present location in May of 2010, and the 16/17 winter is the only one I would grade as "F".  13/14 was clearly the best.  15/16 gets low marks for having to run the AC on Christmas Day (never had to do that in 30+ christmases in Richmond) but offset entirely by the single largest snowfall of my life a month later.  At least these events are memorable.

I believe 16/17 deserves a special designation as it basically was devoid of any resemblance to winter.  It wasn't cold, it didn't snow, there was virtually no ice or winter storm of any kind outside of one mid December event; we had numerous stretches of weeks at a time where it was hard to tell if simply delayed onset of indian summer or early spring.  It's been at least 25 years since I have seen anything even close to this, in any location.  Relative to normals for where I live today, I suspect this is probably amongst the mildest winter of my lifetime, as I don't think the early 1990's winters were as mild here as they were for points south.

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I've posted a variation of this before. For the decent seasons, I've included the biggest three snowfalls and other commentary. I attended school in Montgomery County and teach there. So, snow days are an easy measure of impact. Potomac up until 09/10 and N. Bethesda since. 

09/10= A+    78.5"; 1) 26.5" (2/5-6/10)   2) 21" (12/18-19/09)   3) 13.5" (2/9-10/10);  9 snow days; this winter clearly stands out as the top I've ever experienced, and since it's a level superior to 95/96 and 02/03, I put those as A's. 


95/96= A       65";   1) 25" (1/6-8/96)      2) 8" (2/16/96)    3) 7-1/4" (2/2-3/96);  9 snow days

02/03= A       53";   1) 21" (2/16-18/03)   2) 6.5" (2/6-7/03)   3) 6-1/4" (12/5/02); 10 snow days 


13/14= A-     52.5";  1) 15.5" (2/12-13/14)    2) 9" (3/16-17/14)    3) 6.5" (1/21/14); 10 snow days; only thing that knocked this down a notch to an  A- for me vs. an A is that it didn't have that one 20"+ storm that closed schools for a week


14/15= B/B+  32-1/4"; 1) 7-1/4" (2/21/15)   2) 7" (3/5/15)    3) 3-3/4" (1/6/15); 7 snow days; historic February cold lifts this up slightly above the three 'B' seasons 


92/93= B       25";  1) 13.5" (3/13/93)    2) 3" (2/21/93)    3) 3" (2/26/93); 4 snow days

93/94= B       20.5";  1) 5" (3/1-2/94)    2) 3" (1/20/94)     3) 3" (12/28/93); 11 snow (mostly ice) days (!)

15/16= B       34-3/4"; 1) 29" (1/22-23/16)    2) 2-3/4" (2/14-15/16)    3) 2" (3/3-4"); 7 snow days 


99/00= C+    22";  1) 9" (1/25/00)   2) 5.5" (1/21/00)   3) 4.5" (1/29/00); 4 snow days


98/99= C      21.5"; 1) 8.5" (3/9/99)  2) 4.5" (3/14-15/99)  3) 3-3/4" (1/8/99); 5 snow days

04/05= C      20"; tied 1) 4.5" (2/24/05 and 2/28/05)  3) 3-3/4" (1/22/05); 3 snow days

05/06= C      23"; 1) 14" (2/11-12/06)  2) 3-3/4" (12/5-6/05)  3) 2.5" (12/9/05); 2 snow days

06/07= C      14.5"; 1) 5" (2/25/07)  2) 3.5" sleet (2/13-14/07)   3) 1.5" LOL (1/21/07); 4 snow days; the 3-in-a-row snow days for the sleet storm as well as the very cold and active February lifted this winter up to a "C" despite the well-below average snow total


03/04= C-     19";  1) 7.5" (12/5-6/03)  2) 6" (1/25-26/04)  3) 4" (12/14/03); 4 snow days (2 for ZR in February) + 3 for Hurricane Isabel

10/11= C-     15"; 1) 8.5" (1/26/11); 3 snow days in a row


94/95= D+     12.5"; 1) 6.5" (2/3-4/95)   2) 4" (1/28/95); 1 snow day in March


96/97= D       14.5"; 1) 6.5" (2/8/97)


00/01= D-      12-1/4"; 1) 3.5" (12/19/00) 

07/08= D-      8-3/4"; 1) 4.5" (1/17/08); only thing saving this winter from an F is I did have two 4"+ snows

08/09= D-      8.5"; 1) 6.5" (3/1-2/09); only thing saving this winter from an F is I did have a 6"+ storm

12/13= D-      10"; 1) 4" (3/25/13 LOL)


97/98= F        3" 

01/02= F        2.5"

11/12= F        2" 

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The winters I have lived in WV correspond with the years PSU mentioned.

'06-'07-- 26.5" grade of B
On January 21, after a mild, snowless winter, I went on a snow chase to Blackwater Falls.  After I returned, seven weeks of great winter weather ensued.  Consistent cold: a great mixed storm on VD; and a 6" mid-winter-like storm on March 17 that brought the seasonal total to exactly the long term average.

'07-'08-- 15.1" grade of C-
A pretty forgettable winter with long mild stretches and no heavy snowfalls.  A few decent ice events and more than 50% of climo snowfall led to the mediocre grade.

'08-'09-- 5.1" grade of D
Terrible winter, only saved from complete failure by the first sub-zero temps I had recorded imby in 15 years in late January.  Missing the early March storm was the final nail, although I did travel to northern Montgomery Co. for a beautiful hike at Little Bennett Regional Park the morning of that storm.

'09-'10-- 82.9" grade of A+
In studying every coop record I could find in my area going back to the late 1800's, I couldn't find a season with more snow than I measured that winter.  18.8" in the December storm, 28.5" in the first February event, and 18" in the second one that brought snow cover to over 3' on the level.  There was even a good river flood event in mid-January.  Only minor drawback was the early end to the season, but I had snow cover anyway into early March (61 days total for the season)

'10-'11-- 20.3" grade of B-
Decent early cold, though the clippers in early December going south of us was disappointing.  The Boxing Day storm missing us was a tough blow.  Had that one panned out, the season could have been graded higher.  The dynamic storm in January that dropped 7.3" here was a memorable storm for the rates, and the late February event that dropped 4" was a nice cap on a fairly decent season.

'11-'12-- 8.4" grade of D+
A 4" snowfall before Halloween was the only highlight of an otherwise dismal season that didn't produce another snowfall greater than 1.5" the rest of the season.

'12-'13-- 23.4" grade of B-
18 different days with measurable snowfall; a nice December stretch that just fell short of double-digits for the month (9.7") and two 4"+ events in March, including one late in the month.  Almost 90% of climo snowfall, which is better than many winters.

'13-'14-- 52.4" grade of A
A wall-to-wall winter.  I recorded frozen precip on 47 days, including measurable on 23 of those.  Three consecutive months of double-digit snowfall (including 12.1" in Dec., 11.4" in Jan. and 21.3" in Feb.) followed by a 7.1" March.  A foot-plus storm in February.  Good cold snaps, below-zero weather, multiple days with highs in the teens, consistent snow cover.  One of only 6 winters of 50"+ snowfall in my lifetime.

'14-'15-- 36.7" grade of A-
A nice November event that dropped a couple of inches led into three consecutive double-digit snowfall months (in Jan-Feb-Mar) for the second year in a row.  Another 24 days with measurable snow.  Below-zero readings for the second year in a row.  And consistent snow cover again.

'15-'16-- 40.3" grade of B
The largest snowfall I have personally experienced (35.3" in one storm) carries this whole grade.  The rest of the winter scored very low, but for a snow lover, that late January storm has to rank the winter higher than most.  Not sure I will see it topped in my time.

'16-'17-- 4.0" grade of F
One of, if not the worst winters I can recall.  No snow events greater than an inch, no cold waves.  Flowers on trees by the end of February.  A complete write-off.  Hope to not see another one like this for a long time.


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