If this past winter seemed unusally mild then your intuition was correct.  Much unlike the last two winters which saw many cold air intrusions and heavy snow, this past winter was not much like winter at all.  In fact, it ranked as the warmest astronomical winter (December 22nd to March 19th) on record for Huntsville and Muscle Shoals.  Meteorological winter (December 1st through February 28th/29th) was not quite as warm, comparitively, but still ranked as the 5th warmest on record at Huntsville, tied with the winter of 1926-'27.  This past meteorological winter at Muscle Shoals ranked as the 6th warmest with an average temperature of 47.7, just shy of the top fifth ranking.  Below is a table of the top five warmest winter periods on record for Huntsville and Muscle Shoals.  

HUNTSVILLE
Astronomical Winter   Meteorological Winter (Dec - Jan)

 Rank

 Average Temperature

 Winter

 

 Rank

 Average Temperature

 Winter

 1

 50.3

2011-'12

 

 1

49.2

1949-'50 

 2

 49.8

1973-'74

 

 2

48.3

1956-'57

 3

 49.7

1949-'50

 

 3

47.7

1951-'52

 4

 49.1

1926-'27

 

 4

47.6

1948-'49

 5

 48.7

1936-'37

 

 5

47.5

1926-'27 & 2011-'12 

 

MUSCLE SHOALS
Astronomical Winter   Meteorological Winter (Dec - Jan)

 Rank

 Average Temperature

 Winter

 

 Rank

 Average Temperature

 Winter

 1

 50.6

2011-'12

 

 1

49.4

1909-'10

 2

 50.0

1937-'38

 

 2

48.7

1956-'57

 2 (tie)

 50.0

1949-'50

 

 3

48.6

1906-'07

 4

 49.8

1906-'07

 

 4

48.2

1998-'99

 5

 49.3

1973-'74

 

 5

47.8

1951-'52

 

This cold season (October through May...which represent the months in which freezing temperatures have occurred in the area), so far, has also seen relatively few days with below freezing temperatures: 38 days at Huntsville and 42 days at Muscle Shoals.  The average number of freeze days during the "cold" season is 64 days at both locations.  The last day this year with a freezing morning temperature at Huntsville was February 26th and the last date at Muscle Shoals was March 4th.  If no more freezes occur at Huntsville, then this will set a new record for the earliest last freeze, beating the record earliest date of March 7th, set just back in 2010.  At Muscle Shoals however, the record will not be broken.  The earliest last freeze during the cold season at the Shoals was on February 23rd, 1953. 

 


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