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Rest of winter likely to stay on the mild side

Rain, mud and fog – it sure doesn’t feel like the dead of winter.

But weather guru Dave Phillips says from Tuesday to Thursday this week we were smack dab in the middle of winter, with officially more winter behind us than left to go.

While we got our fair share of snow in December, we’ve seen much more rain than the white stuff this month. He expects this winter will be remembered more for the January thaw than the December snow.

“We felt that it would be more of a winter than last year and that truly has been the case. In your area you’ve had about 105 centimeters of snow. Now most of that occurred in December. You had 80 centimeters of snow in December, where you normally would see maybe 37. You had more than twice the amount of snow that you normally would get in December,” Phillips said.

But due to 84 millimeters of rain, most of that snow has been washed away. And he says there’s no question about it, there have been more warm days this month than January last year.

He says what’s most noteworthy is the number of bouts of January thaw we’ve seen. Typically we’d see one bout of two days of January thaw, but not this year.

“When you look at January to date, there were three days where the temperature got above melting and then it got below freezing and then three days where it got above melting, so another bout of January thaw and then another one that was three days. And then this last one probably before it ends on Thursday will be about seven days long. So you add that up and you’re getting 16 days of the 24 that will have been with melting temperatures,” Phillips said on Tuesday.

He expects we’ll finish out the month on a cool, but not cold, note. Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing during the day with highs of minus-1 down to minus-4.

“Typically at this time of the year in the Elmira area, temperatures should be about highs of minus-4 and lows of minus-12. So even at the end of the month we’re just going to get something that’s fairly close to normal.”

He notes two years ago, February didn’t have a single day with melting temperatures, whereas this month we’ve seen plenty of rain – 16 days of precipitation, which was mostly rain.

“There’s been a lot of days where you’ve had that freeze-thaw cycle, where the temperature during the day was like maple syrup weather. It got warm during the day where it got melting and I think the warmest temperature we saw in the afternoon did get up to nine degrees on one day and eight degrees on another.”

We’ve also seen a lot of fog because of the warm air and the cold surface on the ground.

He cautions against thinking winter is fully behind us. You still can’t rule out some more snow days – to school children’s delight – and pulling out the snow shovel once more.

But when the snow and cold weather does hit, make sure to take advantage.

“We still think the flavor of February and March will be a little milder than normal. You’re not going to retain it so you’ve got to go for it. Don’t procrastinate if it’s good weather for ice fishing or snowmobiling or skiing.”

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