Winter 2021-2022 Summary – Warmer and Snowier Than Average

Blue Hill Observatory
Winter 2021-2022 Summary:

The winter (December-February) season was generally warm with frequent cold periods and with near average precipitation and above average snowfall. The 24-hour mean temperature for the winter of 30.8 deg F was 3.3 degrees warmer than the 130-year winter average and 1.1 degrees warmer than the 1991-2020 30-year mean. The average maximum temperature was 39.0 deg F, which was 1.5 deg F warmer than the 30-year winter mean, and the average minimum temperature of 22.1 deg F was 0.2 deg F cooler than the 30-year mean. December and February were warmer than average while January was colder than average. The warmest days included a high temperature of 67F on February 23rd and 62F on December 11th. Among the coldest days during winter were eleven days with single-digit low temperatures in January, including the season low of 0F on January 16th, and three days with single-digit low temperatures in February. The liquid equivalent precipitation total for winter was 12.77 inches, which was very close to the 130-year average and about an inch less than the 1991-2020 mean. Winter snowfall totaled 65.6 inches, which was more than 21 inches greater than the 130-year mean and about 16 inches more than the 30-year average. Much of the seasonal snow, 45.4 inches, fell during the sixth snowiest January on record. There were several significant storms during winter, including the Blizzard of 2022 on January 28th-29th, which brought 27.6 inches of snow and 1.84 inches of melted precipitation, making it the second largest snowstorm ever observed in January at the Observatory and the seventh largest snowstorm for any month of the year. This powerful coastal storm brought many hours of heavy snow, strong winds, and blizzard conditions to Blue Hill, including a peak wind gust to 55 mph from the north. Another large storm occurred on January 7th, bringing 15.7 inches of snow, and there were two eight-inch snowfalls in February. Following a recent trend, the local ponds froze over and partly or fully thawed several times during the winter months. Ponkapoag Pond initially froze on December 27th, before opening and refreezing on January 10th. Houghton’s Pond initially froze on January 10th, which was the second latest freeze date on record for this pond. Both ponds were still partly or fully frozen over at the end of February. The mean wind speed for the winter months was only 12.8 mph, which tied for the second lowest on record for any December-February period. The peak gust during winter was 66 mph from the south during rain and warm temperatures on February 22nd. There was another strong wind gust to 65 mph from the east-southeast during moderate rain on the morning of January 17th. Winter sunshine was below average with 386.9 hours, or 46 percent of the possible bright sunshine, which was two percent less than the long-term mean for winter.

BHO Greatest Snowstorms, inches (1891-2022):

1) 38.7 on 24-28 Feb, 1969
2) 30.8 on 26-28 Jan, 2015
3) 30.3 on 3-5 Mar, 1960
4) 30.1 on 6-7 Feb, 1978
5) 30.0 on 31 Mar – 1 Apr, 1997
6) 29.8 on 6-8 Mar, 2013
7) 27.6 on 28-29 Jan, 2022
8) 26.6 on 8-9 Feb, 2013
9) 24.7 on 17-18 Feb, 2003
10) 24.3 on 5-7 Dec, 2003

BHO Houghton’s Pond Latest Freeze Date (1885 to 2022):

1) January 18th in 2007
2) January 10th in 2022
3) January 9th in 2012
4) January 5th in 1974
January 5th in 2016
6) January 4th in 2013

BHO Lowest Winter (Dec-Feb) Mean Wind Speed, mph (1885-1886 to 2020-2021):

1) 12.2 in 2020-2021
2) 12.8 in 2019-2020
   12.8 in 2021-2022
4) 13.1 in 2013-2014
   13.1 in 2018-2019
6) 13.3 in 2011-2012
   13.3 in 2014-2015
   13.3 in 2017-2018

Mike Iacono
Chief Scientist
Blue Hill Observatory