Warm Finish to a Very Cold Year
By Heidi Sonen & Roscoe Shaw
The Year 2014 was cold. Very cold. In fact, scanning back to 1903, it was the third coldest ever behind only 1917 and 2003. The year started off with a cold, snowy winter followed by a cool wet spring and a very cool and dry summer. Fall, of course, was cool again, except for December when we finally broke above normal.
We don’t want to read much into it, though. First of all, our data record is a bit inconsistent with changes in location and measuring techniques and time of measurement over the course of 100 years. Each of these can bias the record and requires careful adjustments which we haven’t done. But no matter how you slice it, this was a cold year.
Central Virginia clearly went through a warm series of decades from the 1930s to the 1950s. The 1960s and 1970s were distinctly cold and snowy. Since then, the trend has been warmer but very choppy with some very warm years like 1998 and 2012 and some very cold years like 2003 and 2014.
The overall pattern for the last century largely mirrors global temperatures. But not this year. 2014 was a warm year globally even though most of the United States was cold. This year was likely the third warmest on record, globally behind only 2010 and 1998. The global temperature trend since 2000 is warming at a rate of 0.6 degrees centigrade per century.
December opened with a high of 73 on the 1st and never looked back, finishing a full three degrees above normal. The coldest was just 23 on the last day of the year. Rainfall was just a touch below normal. For the year, we had 42 inches of rain versus an average of 47 inches. We need less, though, when it is cool, so the water tables are in good shape.
- Mint Springs Farm 2.60”
- Univ. of Virginia 4.50”
- CHO Airport 2.79”
- Nellysford 2.97”
- Waynesboro 2.57”