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Pittsburgh, PA/Western PA Fall/Winter Discussion 2022-23


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2 minutes ago, Ahoff said:

I disagree, a 60 degree day in February, or January, or December has never felt odd to me.  It has literally happened almost every year.  There's a reason every winter month has a mean max of over 60, because that's not unusual.  It's honestly really annoying when the news casters always act like they can't believe it's 60 degrees in winter.  It happens every year.

I don’t ever remember it being this frequent 

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1 minute ago, Ahoff said:

I disagree, a 60 degree day in February, or January, or December has never felt odd to me.  It has literally happened almost every year.  There's a reason every winter month has a mean max of over 60, because that's not unusual.  It's honestly really annoying when the news casters always act like they can't believe it's 60 degrees in winter.  It happens every year.

I’ll agree with you here. More unusual was probably the lack of many such days in Jan-Feb 2021-2022. A 60 degree day in February really is relatively normal, and technically we’ve only had two this February so far (it just so happens that both of them were in the 70s).

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Just now, KPITSnow said:

I don’t ever remember it being this frequent 

Since a lot of the discussion to this point was related to 70s in February, that’s probably the more salient point here. After a period of 60 years where it didn’t occur even once, we’ve had 10 since 1997, and half of those have been since 2017.

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For the period 2/1 to 2/16, this was the 2nd driest on record, the 2nd least snowy, and 3rd warmest for average high temperature. Due to the change from downtown to the airport, average low temperature was only 30th warmest and dominated by records from the old city office. The cooler lows make this only the 13th warmest period by mean temperature.

Precipitation

1 1934-02-16 0.11 0
2 2023-02-16 0.15 0
3 1941-02-16 0.19 0
4 1904-02-16 0.29 0
5 1906-02-16 0.32 0
6 1978-02-16 0.35 0
7 1969-02-16 0.38 0
- 1954-02-16 0.38 0
9 1902-02-16 0.39 0
10 1878-02-16 0.40

0

Snowfall

1 1909-02-16 0.1 0
2 2023-02-16 0.2 0
- 1918-02-16 0.2 0
4 1938-02-16 0.3 0
- 1921-02-16 0.3 0
6 1959-02-16 0.6 0
- 1949-02-16 0.6 0
- 1884-02-16 0.6 0
9 1946-02-16 0.7 0
- 1927-02-16 0.7 0
- 1887-02-16 0.7 0

Average High Temperature

1 1884-02-16 52.4 0
2 1990-02-16 50.9 0
3 2023-02-16 49.1 0
4 1887-02-16 48.9 0
5 1927-02-16 48.3 0
- 1925-02-16 48.3 0
7 1876-02-16 48.1 0
8 1938-02-16 47.9 0
- 1890-02-16 47.9 0
10 1999-02-16 47.1 0
- 1882-02-16 47.1 0
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16 minutes ago, TheClimateChanger said:

For the period 2/1 to 2/16, this was the 2nd driest on record, the 2nd least snowy, and 3rd warmest for average high temperature. Due to the change from downtown to the airport, average low temperature was only 30th warmest and dominated by records from the old city office. The cooler lows make this only the 13th warmest period by mean temperature.

Precipitation

1 1934-02-16 0.11 0
2 2023-02-16 0.15 0
3 1941-02-16 0.19 0
4 1904-02-16 0.29 0
5 1906-02-16 0.32 0
6 1978-02-16 0.35 0
7 1969-02-16 0.38 0
- 1954-02-16 0.38 0
9 1902-02-16 0.39 0
10 1878-02-16 0.40

0

Snowfall

1 1909-02-16 0.1 0
2 2023-02-16 0.2 0
- 1918-02-16 0.2 0
4 1938-02-16 0.3 0
- 1921-02-16 0.3 0
6 1959-02-16 0.6 0
- 1949-02-16 0.6 0
- 1884-02-16 0.6 0
9 1946-02-16 0.7 0
- 1927-02-16 0.7 0
- 1887-02-16 0.7 0

Average High Temperature

1 1884-02-16 52.4 0
2 1990-02-16 50.9 0
3 2023-02-16 49.1 0
4 1887-02-16 48.9 0
5 1927-02-16 48.3 0
- 1925-02-16 48.3 0
7 1876-02-16 48.1 0
8 1938-02-16 47.9 0
- 1890-02-16 47.9 0
10 1999-02-16 47.1 0
- 1882-02-16 47.1 0

I think we’re in 7th for the YTD period for mean temp. 1990 is the only year currently ahead of us from the airport.

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42 minutes ago, TheClimateChanger said:

For the period 2/1 to 2/16, this was the 2nd driest on record, the 2nd least snowy, and 3rd warmest for average high temperature. Due to the change from downtown to the airport, average low temperature was only 30th warmest and dominated by records from the old city office. The cooler lows make this only the 13th warmest period by mean temperature.

Precipitation

1 1934-02-16 0.11 0
2 2023-02-16 0.15 0
3 1941-02-16 0.19 0
4 1904-02-16 0.29 0
5 1906-02-16 0.32 0
6 1978-02-16 0.35 0
7 1969-02-16 0.38 0
- 1954-02-16 0.38 0
9 1902-02-16 0.39 0
10 1878-02-16 0.40

0

Snowfall

1 1909-02-16 0.1 0
2 2023-02-16 0.2 0
- 1918-02-16 0.2 0
4 1938-02-16 0.3 0
- 1921-02-16 0.3 0
6 1959-02-16 0.6 0
- 1949-02-16 0.6 0
- 1884-02-16 0.6 0
9 1946-02-16 0.7 0
- 1927-02-16 0.7 0
- 1887-02-16 0.7 0

Average High Temperature

1 1884-02-16 52.4 0
2 1990-02-16 50.9 0
3 2023-02-16 49.1 0
4 1887-02-16 48.9 0
5 1927-02-16 48.3 0
- 1925-02-16 48.3 0
7 1876-02-16 48.1 0
8 1938-02-16 47.9 0
- 1890-02-16 47.9 0
10 1999-02-16 47.1 0
- 1882-02-16 47.1 0

I'm glad it was drier at least.  Hate too much rain, hopefully that continues through the summer at least.

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2 hours ago, TimB said:

I’ll agree with you here. More unusual was probably the lack of many such days in Jan-Feb 2021-2022. A 60 degree day in February really is relatively normal, and technically we’ve only had two this February so far (it just so happens that both of them were in the 70s).

I take that back. Today got to 60 just after midnight.

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7 hours ago, TheClimateChanger said:

This is the cumulative departure for the last 4 winters (2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 to date).

Instinctively I want to say these years are sort of typical in terms of longer-term La Nina alignments.  It's something I should probably research if no one else beats me to it.

Granted, past analogs may be losing their value and there's so many variables to account for each winter.  I'd still be curious about the extent of the similarities.

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2 minutes ago, CoraopolisWx said:

image.png.c5753e12a55b0f1413648f051c4b1335.pngThere’s some monster deficits on that list. SMH

Yep I just read that in the central forum. What I find crazy is our 14.5 amount. I feel like even with the nickel and dimes we still only saw under 10 in the city. Seems like some of the events benefited moon more than the city. 

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2 hours ago, Rd9108 said:

Yep I just read that in the central forum. What I find crazy is our 14.5 amount. I feel like even with the nickel and dimes we still only saw under 10 in the city. Seems like some of the events benefited moon more than the city. 

Elkins, West Virginia is the craziest to me. Elkins averages nearly twice our annual snowfall and has nearly 5” fewer and it’s already bad enough here.

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With 7 days left in meteorological winter, the mean maximum temperature has been 44.1F, which places it as 9th warmest in the threaded Pittsburgh climate record. Of the 8 years ahead of this one, the top 5 were at the city office. The 1889-90 figure is insane, probably still the warmest winter in Pittsburgh history but on steroids due to location, siting and equipment changes. Numbers 6 & 7 were recorded at AGC. And Number 8 was recorded at PIT. We should surpass 2016-2017, given the forecast, making this the warmest winter since records began at PIT.

image.png.56ee9fb8a46a9a334db1c49e47c7f8d1.png

In regards to the two years on the list which were observed at AGC (1948-49 & 1949-50), it's worth noting this winter has been about a degree warmer than those winters at AGC. So while those years show up as slightly warmer than this year in the threaded record, it's actually been somewhat warmer this year. That's obviously the case for the earlier city records as well but there are no modern observations there to compare.

image.png.cb7b61f3455af218bd9d3b1a8a790fbd.png

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Mean average temperature about the same placement as mean maximum temperature. Currently in 12th place, but there's a three-way tie for 9th that's just 0.1F warmer. Should climb up substantially in the last week, and finish around 7 or 8th place on the threaded record, and again the warmest since records began at PIT. Can definitely say this is the mildest winter of any of our lifetimes.

image.png.28ce522d603d85efc21d7b0fe8fd1f8c.png

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32 minutes ago, TheClimateChanger said:

Mean average temperature about the same placement as mean maximum temperature. Currently in 12th place, but there's a three-way tie for 9th that's just 0.1F warmer. Should climb up substantially in the last week, and finish around 7 or 8th place on the threaded record, and again the warmest since records began at PIT. Can definitely say this is the mildest winter of any of our lifetimes.

image.png.28ce522d603d85efc21d7b0fe8fd1f8c.png

Can safely throw out #1 too, since it’s missing a bunch of days of data. The real record is probably that 1931-32 winter, if it counts.

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On 2/22/2023 at 11:07 AM, TimB said:

Can safely throw out #1 too, since it’s missing a bunch of days of data. The real record is probably that 1931-32 winter, if it counts.

Well, I doubt the 5 missing days would make a huge difference. The bigger problem is it's not directly comparable to modern temperature records. I had previously analyzed the records from the city office station from 1952 through 1979, when they overlapped records at KPIT [until the city office records ceased] and it averaged about 2.6F warmer than PIT. Which, to be quite honest, is about what I would expect from the combination of the lower elevation [probably a good 400 feet, which itself can probably explain up to about 1.5F of the difference], somewhat further south location, and the city urban heat island effect.

From 1999 to 2022, KAGC [which was the official observations from 1935 or 36 until September 15, 1952] averaged about 0.6F warmer than PIT, although lately it's been running a good 1-1.5F warmer. Pretty reasonable given the two sites are at about the same elevation, but AGC is off to the southeast and in a somewhat more densely urbanized area.

From 1936 through 1951, the city office averaged 1.9F warmer than AGC. Which jives with the numbers above, and suggests they're pretty robust at least back to the early 20th century. However, the 19th century records have some other issues. I know the first few years of the Signal Corps, it was common for the thermometer to be housed in the window; so, they really should be taken with a grain of salt.

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3 minutes ago, TheClimateChanger said:

Well, I doubt the 5 missing days would make a huge difference. The bigger problem is it's not directly comparable to modern temperature records. I had previously analyzed the records from the city office station from 1952 through 1979, when they overlapped records at KPIT [until the city office records ceased] and it averaged about 2.6F warmer than PIT. Which, to be quite honest, is about what I would expect from the combination of the lower elevation [probably a good 400 feet, which itself can probably explain up to about 1.5F of the difference], somewhat further south location, and the city urban heat island effect.

From 1999 to 2022, KAGC [which was the official observations from 1935 or 36 until September 15, 1952] averaged about 0.6F warmer than PIT, although lately it's been running a good 1-1.5F warmer. Pretty reasonable given the two sites are at about the same elevation, but AGC is off to the southeast and in a somewhat more densely urbanized area.

From 1936 through 1951, the city office averaged 1.9F warmer than AGC. Which jives with the numbers above, and suggests they're pretty robust at least back to the early 20th century. However, the 19th century records have some other issues. I know the first few years of the Signal Corps, it was common for the thermometer to be housed in the window; so, they really should be taken with a grain of salt.

This also got me thinking about snowfall. Since 1952, there have only been four years with less snowfall through today's date than this year [1989, 1974, 1991, and 1980]. Including the AGC records, only 6 years since 1936 have had less snow [4 above plus 1949 & 1950].

For the record, PIT has averaged 43.5" of snow annually since records began at the airport in 1952, which is actually slightly higher than the current 30-year normal of 41.9". For the 16 years where official records were kept at AGC, the mean seasonal snowfall was 37.9" - which, honestly, sounds about right. I would expect that part of the metro area to average 5-6 inches fewer than Moon or Findlay Township. In both cases, the median is somewhat less [41.1" at PIT and 34.7" at AGC], which is to be expected since the means are bolstered by some heavy snowfall years. And, of course, the AGC figures themselves should be taken with a grain of salt being based on significantly less than 30 years of data.

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16 minutes ago, TheClimateChanger said:

This also got me thinking about snowfall. Since 1952, there have only been four years with less snowfall through today's date than this year [1989, 1974, 1991, and 1980]. Including the AGC records, only 6 years since 1936 have had less snow [4 above plus 1949 & 1950].

For the record, PIT has averaged 43.5" of snow annually since records began at the airport in 1952, which is actually slightly higher than the current 30-year normal of 41.9". For the 16 years where official records were kept at AGC, the mean seasonal snowfall was 37.9" - which, honestly, sounds about right. I would expect that part of the metro area to average 5-6 inches fewer than Moon or Findlay Township. In both cases, the median is somewhat less [41.1" at PIT and 34.7" at AGC], which is to be expected since the means are bolstered by some heavy snowfall years. And, of course, the AGC figures themselves should be taken with a grain of salt being based on significantly less than 30 years of data.

The current 30 year normal is actually 44.1”, but otherwise this is a good write up.

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5 minutes ago, TimB said:

The current 30 year normal is actually 44.1”, but otherwise this is a good write up.

I thought that was the case, but if you go to the NWS PBZ snow page, it shows the numbers below. In hindsight, I think the monthly numbers do sum to 44.1". Looks like they just inadvertently left in the 1981-2010 average for the annual snowfall in this graphic. Either way, no real trend in snowfall yet. Granted, there's been some changes in procedure over that timeframe that could somewhat complicate the analysis.

 

image.png.f6197dc1ffece4c285702a92f2056443.png

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