Cold, snow falling short of last year 2015.02.18

It's been a cold and snowy winter, but then there was last year.

Morenci's George Isobar, a volunteer with the National Weather Service's cooperative observer program, was asked about the differences between this winter and a year ago.

"There's really not much of a comparison," Isobar said. "Last year was so much more extreme in both snowfall and temperature."

A year ago today, Feb. 18, a four-inch snowfall pretty much ended it for February, but March was still to come.

"We had an additional 11.3 inches of snow in March," he said. "Winter didn't give up easily."

For the current season, there was no snow in December and 7.8 inches in January. February has produced 15.6 inches, bringing the total to 23.4. 

"That's probably a typical season for us, although we still have half of February and all of March to go," he said. “Last year's total came in just below 60 inches."

December was a lot milder this season, Isobar said. In 2013 there were 12 inches of snow and a low of zero. This past snowless December had a low temperature of 12.

Last month produced three below-zero days and the average low temperature was 12.1°. A year ago there were eight below-zero readings, and they were really below, as in -15, -16, -13, -14 and -10. The average low for January 2014 was 4.2°.

"February offers the best challenge to a year ago," Isobar said. "Snowfall is only three inches behind and the temperature is a lot colder. As of now, the average low stands at 4.1°, but we're in the midst of a cold week with lots of zero and below temperatures ahead."

Of course it could be worse.

"We've already had a lot more below-zero days than last February, but let's hope we don't match the low for 2014. There were only three days below zero, but one of them was -18°."