WINTER SEVERITY INDEX
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A BAD WINTER OR NOT?
If somebody asked you today, has this been a bad winter, what would you tell them? I pondered that question this afternoon and decided my answer would depend on when you would have asked me. January 1st, after the warmest December in Iowa's history, I would have said what winter? We might as well have been living in Arkansas or Tennessee.
Then came the first 3 weeks of January and Katie bar the door! Some places racked up 30 inches of snow in less than 10 days. Wicked cold set also set in, with sub-zero lows for roughly 10 days, some pushing 20 below. Arguably, we had one of the worst stretches of winter weather in decades, At that point, I'm thinking okay, this is tough...payback is well, you know what.
Now we're back to mild weather and have come full circle. What gives? Where do we stand?
Well, based on the intensity and persistence of cold weather, the amount of snow, and the amount and persistence of snow on the ground, an index called the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI) was developed. Its goal is to objectively quantify and describe the severity of the winter season. So like it or not, there is a benchmark to measure what we think we know.
As of today, the index is at 344 in the Quad Cities. That's right in the middle of the moderate winter classification. However, back on January 1st that number was only 59, the lowest (most mild) winter ever measured. After we went through our crazy stretch in January, we had climbed into the average classification and were bordering on severe. Then, with 2 more weeks of warmer weather, we flat-lined and are back in the moderate category and rapidly headed for mild winter status. In other words, we hit a big bump in the road.
The bottom line is 3 nasty weeks does not a winter make. In the big picture, this has been another fairly "soft" winter. Now it's time for the end game. How we close this out will determine where 2023–24 finishes in the rankings. I still think we have some rough spots ahead, so I suspect we end up somewhere in the moderate to perhaps average category. If not, that mild classification is something to shoot for! Roll weather...TS PS Due to my recent health issues, I'm in need of your donation to the site more than ever. If you use it and find value in it, please consider a donation. Thanks to you who have already made a contribution!