Very Warm and Moist Conditions Characterize the 2015-2016 Winter Season Across Delaware

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Figure 1. Delaware statewide mean winter temperature (°F) 1895-2016. Red line indicates 1981-2010 normal.
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Figure 2. Delaware statewide winter precipitation (inches) 1895-2016. Red line indicates 1981-2010 normal.

Winter Temperatures

Preliminary data indicates that winter temperatures were far above the 30-year “normal” during the winter season. The statewide mean winter temperature of 41.1°F was 4.8°F above the 1981-2010 mean value of 36.3°F (Figure 1). This made winter 2015-2016 the 4th warmest since records began in 1895.

Witer Precipitation

The statewide mean precipitation of 11.47 inches was 1.71 inches above the 1981-2010 normal of 9.76 inches, and was the 3rd year in a row with above normal winter precipitation (Figure 2).

Statewide Spatial Averages

Data from the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS) show that winter temperatures across the entire State were above normal, with the largest anomalies found in northern Sussex and northern New Castle counties in Delaware and in Chester County, PA (Figure 3).

Winter precipitation varied significantly across the State depending upon location. In general, the heaviest precipitation fell across interior Sussex County, DE (Figure 4). At the New Castle County Airport, 22.7 inches of snow fell during the December through February winter season, a value slightly above the 1981-2010 mean.

Winter 2015 - 2016 average temperature departures (°F) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
Figure 3. Winter 2015 - 2016 average temperature departures (°F) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
Winter 2015 - 2016 precipitation departures (inches) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
Figure 4. Winter 2015 - 2016 precipitation departures (inches) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
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