Many attribute our early and intense spring allergy season to our 2011-2012 warm winter. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that winter 2011-2012 was the fourth warmest winter on record. The seasonal average temperature was 3.9 degrees above the 20th century average. Where does your community rank? See the map below:
This map shows places where the average seasonal temperatures were up to 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler (darkest blue) or 10 degrees warmer (darkest red) than average, based on observations from 1981-2010.
The most unusually warm temperatures were found in the northern states, especially in the northern Great Plains. In a recent Winter Recap video, Deke Arndt, head of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, explained the reason for the pattern: the jet stream stayed farther north than usual this winter. The whipping, high-altitude winds of the jet stream generally mark the boundary between Arctic air to the north and warmer air to the south.