4.6 A Winter Season of Extremes (2011-12)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 4:45 PM
Ballroom E (Austin Convention Center)
David Novak, NOAA/NWS/Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, College Park, MD; and M. S. Ryan and J. E. Hoke

The 2011–2012 winter season was both warmer and drier than average for the contiguous U.S (CONUS). In fact, the average temperature for December through February ranked as the 4th warmest on record and snow cover ranked the third smallest since satellite recording began in 1966. The winter ended with the warmest March on record for the CONUS. Despite the warm winter, there were notable winter weather events, including a historic October snowstorm in the northeast U.S., a rare snow and ice event in the Pacific Northwest, and three blizzards in the central U.S.

This presentation will summarize these and other major winter events during the 2011–2012 winter season, focusing on storms having particularly large societal impact. The presentation will also highlight activities of the Winter Weather Desk (WWD) of the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC). The WWD provides twice daily forecast guidance for snow and ice accumulations through 72 hours to meteorologists and others interested in impending winter weather across the conterminous U.S. The WWD also serves as a catalyst for collaboration among the forecasters of the field offices of the National Weather Service as they prepare the official forecasts for their geographic areas of responsibility. Operational and service changes to the WWD for the 2012–2013 season will be highlighted.

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