Although winter does not officially begin until December 21st, the cold weather that we experienced in mid-November seemed to create some interest in the severity of the weather that we are going to have this winter in the north Texas area.
While none of us really know what the weather will be, most of the forecasters (with a wide variety of supporting data) believe that it is going to be a colder winter than normal.
Denton area farmers – Farmers are typically a great source of information on a variety of topics (and life advice), but especially concerning weather predictions. The general consensus of area farmers seems to be that it will be a colder than normal winter. Said one local farmer to me – “Everyone is saying colder than normal, but Hell, we really don’t know!” I love the honesty that you often get from farmers.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac says “winter temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall all will be below normal. The coldest periods will be in mid- and late December, early January, and mid- to late January, while the snowiest periods across the north will occur in mid- to late December and early to mid-January.”
The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is calling for the three months of December, January, & February to bring below normal temperatures with above to slightly above precipitation.
Pete Delkus (WFAA chief meterologist) recently posted the following on Facebook: “Winter has started early and it looks like it’s here to stay!!… No changes to my December forecast, it’ll be cold! Other than a day here or there with above normal temperatures, the month overall will average below normal.”
So far, it seems that these colder than normal predictions are accurate – as November was a cold month, with the first freeze in DFW occurring on November 12th, earlier than our average first freeze of November 22nd. In addition, it was the earliest first freeze since 1997. As a reminder, last winter (2013/2014) was a cold winter in which we experienced 55 freezes – with our first freeze occurring on November 13th and our last freeze occurring on March 5th. The early first freeze and these predictions piqued my curiosity in the winter weather that we have had in this area through the years.
Following is some DFW freezing weather information from the National Weather Service:
First & last freezes
Average first freeze – November 22nd
Average last freeze – March 13th
Earliest first freeze – October 22, 1898
Latest first freeze – January 4, 1972
Earliest last freeze – February 5, 2000
Latest last freeze – April 13, 1957 & 1997
Number of freezes
Average freezes in a season – 33
Average freezes by month
October – .1
November – 2.3
December – 9.7
January – 12.1
February – 6.8
March – 2.0
April – .1
Most freezes in a season – 62 (1977-78)
Most freezes by month
October – 3 (1925)
November – 12 (1959)
December – 21 (1963, 1989)
January – 27 (1940, 1978)
February – 21 (1905, 1978)
March – 10 (1965)
April – 2 (1920, 1957)
Fewest number of freezes – 14 (1930-31, 1931-32, 1999-2000, 2011-12)
If you are wondering what the record low temperature is for the DFW area, you might be surprised that it only has been below zero four times: -8 degrees (February 12, 1899), -2 degrees (January 3, 1949), -1 degrees (January 18, 1930 & December 23, 1989).
Stay warm this winter!!!