This week, November 11th through 17th, is Winter Weather Awareness Week in Ohio. Each day this week, we'll bring you a different topic about winter weather.

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Today's Topic: A look back at the winter of '11-'12

The winter of 2011-2012 was very warm with above normal precipitation, but below normal snowfall. Temperatures across northern Ohio averaged at least four degrees above normal each month from November through March.

The December through February period was one of the top ten warmest ever at all of the major reporting stations. Akron-Canton finished in the 4th warmest position while Cleveland experienced its 7th warmest December through February period ever and warmest since the winter of 2000-2001.

The season ended on a very warm note with record warmth in March. New records for the warmest average temperature were established along with many daily high temperature records. High temperatures were in the 80s a handful of times during the month with average temperatures finishing the month at least 13 degrees above normal at all of the major climate sites.

November, December and January were all relatively wet months. Precipitation totals for all three months were well above normal. But, the warm temperatures those months let much of the precipitation fall as rain and not snow. As a result, snowfall totals for the winter were the lowest in years.

Cleveland ended up with only 38.9 inches of snow, the lowest total since 34.0 inches fell in the winter of 1997-1998. Only 20.8 Inches was recorded at Toledo. Totals in the snowbelt to the east of Cleveland were also below normal with a peak of 83.4 inches at Montville in Geauga County. That total is less than half the normal peak total. The first significant winter storm occurred during the first couple of days of January.

A strong cold swept across the region causing lake effect snow showers to develop in northeast Ohio. Peak snowfall totals for the storm were around 15 inches but strong winds accompanied the snow and caused much blowing and drifting. Another lake effect event occurred during the middle of January with up to two feet of snow over portions of Lake, Ashtabula and Geauga counties on the 12th through 14th.

This was followed a few days later by an area of strong low pressure moving across the region. Showers and thunderstorms along with wind gusts in excess of 60 mph accompanied that system. Periodic light snow and a couple episodes of lake effect snow occurred in February. Snowfall totals for the month were around a foot at the major climate sites.

Another damaging wind storm occurred on the 24th of the month. Widespread power outages resulted from winds in excess of 60 mph. Little snow fell during the month of March but there was yet another wind storm on March 2nd and 3rd. More wind damage was reported throughout northern Ohio.

There were also a few more severe thunderstorms. March ended with a hard freeze on the morning of 27th. Trees that had begun to blossom during the recent warm spell were damaged by the freeze.


Information courtesy of the National Weather Service office in Cleveland.