Winter 2015-16: Warmest Winter on Record in Contiguous US

Its official!  Winter 2015-2016 was the warmest ever recorded in the continental US.

The average temperature of the lower 48 states this meteorological winter (Dec-Feb), according to NOAA’s National Centers of Environmental Information, was 36.8°F. That is a whopping 4.6°F above the 20th century average and surpasses the previous record of 36.5°F that was set in the winter of 1999-2000. The considerable warmth in both December 2015 (warmest December on record) and February 2016 (7th warmest February on record) helped boost the season’s overall average.

Across the country, 46 states posted above average seasonal temperatures and no state was cooler than normal. In New England, it was particularly warm with all six states in the region reporting record high temperatures. Alaska – considered separately from the lower 48 by NOAA – saw its second warmest winter on record.

This exceptional warmth, scientists say, was driven by strong El Niño conditions in the Pacific acting on top of continued global warming.

Weather records for the contiguous United States date back to 1895.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA