Weather Blog

In 2011,Washington was coldest state in lower 48, relative to normal

In 2011,Washington was coldest state in lower 48, relative to normal
Two women seek shelter under an umbrella from the steady drizzle at the Bite of Seattle on July 17, 2011.

If you're still recovering from the spring without sunshine and the rather chilly, if not particularly wet, November and December, it probably won't surprise to you learn that Washington's weather year through November was the coldest, relative to normal -- in the lower 48.

And with December continuing the trend of much below normal temperatures, I suspect that statistic will hold when December's data is calculated.

Here is the map from NOAA (thanks Paul Deanno for finding this!)  that shows the national rankings from January through November:



The way these numbers work is -- there are 117 years of record keeping for this data. The number presented is where this period ranks in the 117 years. So a "117" means it's the hottest on record (that means you, Texas). The "19" for Washington means it was our 19th coolest year overall as a state through November. Had anyone had a "1" it would have meant they set a record for coldest year.

(Need more explanation? Check out ncdc.noaa.gov)

For Seattle, 10 of the 12 months this year were below normal, with only January and September checking in above. So far, Seattle is coming in around the 18th coldest year out of the 66 years of Sea-Tac data, so we're not quite as cold as the state overall, but the theme is the same.

For rainfall, it was a wet year too with the state coming in at the 93rd wettest of the 117 year period while Texas had its driest. New England and the Ohio Valley set records for wettest years on record.



So even though we haven't had our major snow events, the statistics do show a La Nina signature of the usual cool, wet period. Just haven't put the cool and wet together at the right time of the year.