How does this winter stack up? - WNEM TV 5

First Warn 5

How does this winter stack up?

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After two healthy snowstorms in a matter of two weeks, a popular question has come about in the First Warn 5 Weather Center. How does this winter stack up compared to others in terms of snowfall and temperatures, particularly last winter? Here's the answer!

We've even included info (where possible), for two other strong El Nino years for comparison. Those years include the winters of 1997-1998 and 1982-1983.

  • Note: We only include Flint, Saginaw, and Houghton Lake because they are official National Weather Service reporting stations. While info may exist for other areas, they are not officially kept by the National Weather Service.

Snowfall (November-February)

  • Saginaw
    • 2014-2015 Snowfall:
      • 31.9 inches
    • 2015-2016 Snowfall:
      • 33.8 inches
    • Average Snowfall
      • 33.1 inches
    • Past El Nino Snowfalls
      • 9.7 (1982, Lowest Recorded)
      • 26.5 (1997)
  • Flint
    • 2014-2015 Snowfall:
      • 40.2 inches
    • 2015-2016 Snowfall:
      • 50.6 inches
    • Average Snowfall
      • 38.2 inches
    • Past El Nino Snowfalls
      • 13.5 inches (1982)
      • 18.6 inches (1997)
  • Houghton Lake
    • 2014-2015 Snowfall:
      • 41.6 inches
    • 2015-2016 Snowfall:
      • 33.4 inches
    • Average Snowfall
      • 53.9 inches
    • Past El Nino Snowfalls
      • 34.3 inches (1982)
      • Not Available (1997)

Average Temperature (November-February)

  • Saginaw
    • 2015-2016 Average Temperature:
      • 35.2° (2nd Highest Recorded)
    • 1982-1983 Average Temperature:
      • 31.9°
    • 1997-1998 Average Temperature:
      • 32.1°
  • Flint
    • 2015-2016 Average Temperature:
      • 36.2° (2nd Highest Recorded)
    • 1982-1983 Average Temperature:
      • 34.5°
    • 1997-1998 Average Temperature:
      • 32.3°
  • Houghton Lake
    • 2015-2016 Average Temperature:
      • 30.4° (2nd Highest Recorded)
    • 1982-1983 Average Temperature :
      • 28.8°
    • 1997-1998 Average Temperatures
      • 28.6°

Observations

After spending the afternoon crunching the numbers, there are some interesting trends to notice. Starting with snow, it appears we had one station on each end of the spectrum, while having one station coming in very close to average.

Over the last two winters, Saginaw has been fairly close to average, coming in slightly below average last year, and slightly above this year. Flint meanwhile, has been come in above average two years in a row, exceeding the average value by over one foot this year. Houghton Lake continued to come in below average for the second year in a row.

When comparing the snowfall this year to two other El Nino years, Flint and Saginaw both exceeded those snowfalls, while Houghton Lake nearly mirrors the 1982-1983 El Nino.

As far as average temperatures, all three locations came in with the 2nd-warmest November to February on record, which falls in line with the expectation of above average temperatures this winter.

Despite the differences between the November-February stretch of this year and past El Nino winters, it's important to remember that no two El Nino's are the same. Although we had above average, below average, and near normal snowfall, we certainly got our warmer than normal temperatures.

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