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Governor's Winter Safety Week Resolution
2016-2017 Ohio Winter Summary
Winter Weather Terms
Preparedness for Schools
Ice & Snow, Take It Slow
Winter Safety Tips For The Home
Winter Safety Tips For For The Vehicle
Winter Safety Tips For Fire Safety
Winter Health & Safety Tips
Snow Emergency Classifications
Wind Chill Index
Flood Information and Safety Tips
Flood Insurance Information
Carbon Monoxide Information & Safety
Portable Generator Info
Severe Winter Storm Resource List
The winter of 2016-2017 was warm and relatively quiet across northern Ohio. Temperatures averaged well above normal while snowfall totals were less than normal. Cleveland finished the winter with snowfall more than 30 inches below normal and totals across the snowbelt followed a similar trend. Only the Youngstown area saw snowfall totals close to normal.
Temperatures during November averaged around four degrees above normal. The only notable snow event occurred on Nov. 19-20 when a couple inches of lake effect snow fell east of Cleveland.
TDecember was the only month during the winter that saw average temperatures at or below normal. There were also several rounds of wintry precipitation during the month. Lake effect snow showers Dec. 8-10 caused significant problems from Cleveland east across the remainder of Northeast Ohio. Up to two feet of snow fell across portions of Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties with a peak of 32.8 inches at Kirtland in Lake County. Several major accidents brought Interstate 90 to a stop east of Cleveland during this event. The largest incident involved over 50 vehicles. A second lake effect event brought 8-10 inches of additional snow to Northeast Ohio on Dec. 14 and 15. Then just a couple of days later, an area of low pressure moved across state on the 17th spreading freezing rain across the north central part of the state. Up to a half an inch of freezing rain fell in the Marion and Mansfield areas causing some power outages. The rest of the month saw just periodic light snows. Most of the major climate sites saw close to a foot of snow for the month with Youngstown finishing with its fourth snowiest December ever with 23.3 inches of snow.
Warmer than average temperatures returned in January with readings averaging six to seven degrees above normal. There were no notable snow storms during the month but an area of strong low pressure brought damaging winds to the state on January 10 and 11. Peak wind gusts of greater than 60 mph were reported in many areas along with downed trees and scattered power outages. The strong winds were followed by heavy rains on the 12th. Some locations saw up to two inches of rain resulting in areas of flooding. A lake effect snow event on the 29th and 30th brought 8 to 12 inches of snow to some areas.
February of 2017 entered the record books as the warmest February ever. Readings for the month averaged 10 to 12 degrees above normal making the month feel more like March or April. Very little snowfall was reported during the month but some severe thunderstorms developed on the 24th. Hail and downed trees were reported in several counties.
March started much the way February ended with warm temperatures and severe weather on the 1st. There were more than 30 reports of severe weather in the morning hours with damaging winds causing most of the problems. Dozens of trees were knocked down across northern Ohio with many power outages reported as well. What was probably the most significant storms of the winter impacted large portions of northern Ohio on Feb. 13 and 14. A few inches of snow combined with winds gusting to over 30 mph caused serious travel problems. The snow transitioned to lake effect early on Feb 15, with the eastern the suburbs of Cleveland seeing a period of moderate to heavy snow. Over a foot of snow fell on portions of Cuyahoga, Lake, Portage and Ashtabula Counties. Most of the schools in northern Ohio were closed for one or more days. The month ended with more severe thunderstorms on March 30. This time hail was the main problem.
April was generally warm but one last round of winter weather occurred before Spring won out. An area of low pressure brought 1 to 3 inches of snow to much of northern Ohio on April 6 and 7. A couple of locations near Mansfield saw around 5 inches of snow during the event. The second half of the month saw several days of severe weather.
The meteorological winter season (December through February) of 2016-2017 was characterized by above normal temperatures and below normal snowfall.
December began with near normal temperatures but an arctic cold front arrived late in the second week bringing some of the coldest December temperatures in decades. This arctic blast several low pressure systems. The strongest system brought a widespread 5 to 9 inches of snow to the area on Dec. 11. Freezing rain created icy roads and numerous accidents on December 17. The arctic cold did retreat toward the end of the month. This led to warming temperatures and snowmelt.
January featured unseasonably mild and wet conditions overall with below normal snowfall. The only stretch of cold weather was January 5-8. The coldest day was on Jan. 6, when temperatures where nearly 20 degrees below normal.
It was an incredibly warm February with above normal precipitation and snowfall that was well below normal. There were six days where temperatures averaged 20 degrees or more above average. There were several systems that brought rain and thunderstorms to the region during the month, with this ranking as the 11th wettest February. There was enough moisture and warmth around to produce a few severe thunderstorms on February 24 and 28.
|Toledo OH||Temp. Departure||Snow Total||Snow Departure|
The winter of 2016-2017 was once again highlighted for the second consecutive year by above normal temperatures and below normal snowfall. Snowfall amounts were only 40 percent of what typically occurs, while temperatures were slightly above average. Snowfall amounts ranged between 15 inches along the Ohio River to upwards of nearly 4 inches close to the snowbelt in parts of Columbiana County. The highlight of the winter was not a snowfall event, but a flooding event that developed from a passing line of strong to severe thunderstorms on March 1. This resulted in high water and numerous road closures in Columbiana, Belmont, Guernsey and Noble counties. Thunderstorm winds brought down trees in parts of Columbiana County.
Southwest & Central Ohio
Although some locations in the local region did see a few snowflakes fly in the month of November, it wasn’t until the calendar flipped to December that most of the area saw the accumulating snowfall of the season. Even this, however, was relatively sparse as temperatures trended much above normal through the second part of December. This being said, there were several notable wintry precipitation events that impacted the region through the first 2.5 weeks of December. In fact, it was in the first 18 days or so of the month when most of the wintry precipitation occurred for the entire season. On Dec. 13, a weak upper level system tracked through the area, producing 4-6 inches of snow for locations along and just south of the I-70 corridor, with lesser amounts towards the Ohio River and points southward. Although there were several rounds of cold air that filtered into the region, the upward trend in temperatures for the final 10 days or so resulted in average temperatures within a degree or two of normal for the month as a whole.
Even as the area welcomed 2017, the trend of a winterless winter did not stop. A mild and wet pattern evolved for the first several days of the year with a brief cold shot arriving by January 4. This would end up being the coldest stretch of the entire winter season as overnight lows dropped into the single digits and even below zero for rural locales in the region. In fact, the temperature at Dayton did not get above 20 degrees F for four consecutive days from Jan. 5-9, the longest such stretch in nearly 10 years (February 2007). This being said, the cold air vanished quickly towards the middle of the month as record and near-record warmth built into the Ohio Valley by Jan. 12. Multiple daily record high temperatures were also set on the 17th. With this in mind, the extended stretches of warm weather resulted in an abnormally warm January as a whole. And with these warmer temperatures came a lack of snowfall. Columbus recorded only 1.6 inches during the entire month, with Dayton measuring only 1.9 inches. Precipitation as a whole, however, was slightly above normal as several rain events impacted the region throughout the month.
With the first two “winter months” of the season largely devoid of any significant snowfall, many in the area thought February may provide a good dose of winter weather. This, however, proved to be far from reality as February 2017 will largely be remembered for its historic stretch of unseasonable warmth and spring-like temperatures. Cincinnati recorded 13 days with high temperatures in the 60s during the month (with Columbus and Dayton both recording 10 days – the most in the month of February on record for each site). Cincinnati’s total of 13 days was the second highest on record in February.
Although the month was characterized by the extended stretch of unseasonable warmth, many will remember February 24 for its historic heat. All three climate sites in the local area (Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton) recorded their warmest temperature in any winter month (Dec/Jan/Feb) on record. Cincinnati’s temperature reached 78 degrees, while both Columbus and Dayton topped out at 76 degrees.
The warm weather pattern that evolved for much of February unsurprisingly yielded very few chances for snow. Columbus recorded only 0.6 inches of snow (all of which occurred on one day) while Dayton and Cincinnati recorded 1.2 inches and 1.6 inches, respectively.
For the winter as a whole, total snowfall was much below normal. During the winter months of December, January and February, Cincinnati recorded just 8.0 inches of snow – the 29th least snowy winter season on record (dating back to 1894). The Columbus total of 7.6 inches was the 13th least amount of snow recorded in any winter season dating back to 1885. Dayton, meanwhile, measured only 7.2 inches, making the winter of 2016-2017 the 12th least snowiest on record (dating back to 1894).
December was a wet month overall, with 125 to 150 percent of normal precipitation observed. There was little snowfall during the month across the region, with a system on De. 30 depositing up to an inch. There was one exception, northern Perry County, where 2-4 inches fell during the second week of the month. Overall, monthly snowfall averaged 2-4 inches below normal. Temperatures ended up average to slightly below average for December, with a notable cold wave mid-month.
January can best be characterized as very warm compared to average with many locations 6 to 8 degrees above normal for the month. There was a notable cold wave within the Jan 5-10 time span, where daytime temperatures remained in the teens and twenties while falling into the single digits at night. This cold spell was, however, but an island surrounded by a sea of warmth. Daytime highs in the 50s and 60s were common during the second half of the month. Precipitation anomalies were noted for counties closer to the Ohio River, on the order of 125 to 150 percent of normal. However, precipitation was much closer to normal for Perry, Vinton, and Morgan counties. Snowfall was once again scant, with the region once again 2-4 inches below normal. Most of the snow came with an arctic front that ushered in the aforementioned cold wave, when 1-2 inches fell. A system on Jan. 30 produced a general 1-2 inches across the region.
The warmth continued for February with most sites 8-10 degrees above normal for the month. There was one notable but brief cold snap, which occurred during the 3rd through 5th period. Daytime temperatures struggled to surpass 30 degrees with overnight lows in the lower teens. Warmth was the dominate theme for the month though, for both daytime highs and overnight lows. There was a prolonged stretch of particularly anomalous temperatures during the last two weeks of the month. During this span, low to mid 70s were observed on several occasions. A cold front during the last few days of the month managed to bring more seasonable temperatures to the region. Many cooperative observing sites experienced their top five warmest Februarys on record. Precipitation for the month was close to normal for the region with little to no snow observed. The region was generally 3-5 inches below normal for snowfall.
The winter season as a whole was considerably above normal for temperatures and below normal for snowfall. Precipitation was slightly above normal for the season. Many cooperative observers experienced their top 10 warmest winter while also observing a top 10-15 least snowiest winter.