Climate: Warmest winter on record for U.S.

February snow cover below average across North America

Nearly all of the lower 48 states reported above average temperatures in February 2016.
Temperatures across most of the western U.S. were between 5 and 15 degrees above average during February and early March 2016.

Staff Report

Federal climate trackers say the past meteorological winter (Dec.-Feb) was the warmest on record for the contiguous 48 states, with Alaska recording its second-warmest winter, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

For the season, the average temperature across the lower 48 states was 36.8 degrees Fahrenheit, 4.6 degrees above the 20th century average and breaking the record (36.5 degrees Fahrenheit) set in the winter of 1999-2000. Read the full NOAA report here.

Winter snow cover was below average in Feb. 2016.

Much-above average winter temperatures were observed across the West, Great Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast. Each of the six New England states had a winter temperature that was record warm and 46 states reported above-average readings.

The winter as a whole also saw well above-average precipitation, making it the 12th wettest December-February on record for the Lower 48 and the wettest since 1997-1998.

February was also well above-average, ranking as the seventh-warmest on record, and the warmest since 2000. The warmest February readings were across the West, with Arizona recording its highest-ever maximum average daily temperature reading. Seventeen states from the High Plains to the Far West all reported top-ten average February temperatures.

Warmer than average readings also came from parts of the Midwest and Northeast, and Alaska was record-warm in February. Near-average February temperatures were observed across the Southeast.


3 thoughts on “Climate: Warmest winter on record for U.S.

  1. It’s nice not being so cold, and with a ton of snow, we haven’t had to worry about moisture…probably due to El Nino.

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