I've run into a lot of anecdotal conversations in the last few weeks discussing how this winter really hasn't been all that "intense". Conveniently, the Duluth National Weather Service office shared some figures that compare this winter to last year, and that general sense that this winter has been milder is held up by the statistics.

The information, which breaks down temperatures from October 1 through February 19 of last season compared to this season, shows an overall trend that this winter has been generally warmer. The data also shows that there have been less cold extremes. Consider that last winter we saw a period of record cold in late January and early February, that isn't too shocking.

The chart below shows the number of hours during the sample period (October 1-February 19 of 2018-2019 and October 1-February 19 of 2019-2020) that fall into each category of temperatures.

The big takeaway is that the 2018-2019 winter season saw more hours on the left (colder) side of the graph than 2019-2020 did, and 2019-2020 saw more hours than 2018-2019 on the right (warmer) side of the chart.

The most notable variations between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 were:

  • 2019-2020 has seen more than 100 hours more of temperatures between 20 and 29 degrees than 2018-2019.
  • 2018-2019 saw almost 100 hours more of temperatures from 0 to -10 than this winter
  • 2018-2019 saw approximately a day's worth of hours with temperatures between -20 and -29, while this winter has seen only a matter of a few hours that cold.
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