Zach’s Weather Whys: How severe is this year’s Winter compared to last?

Zach's Weather Whys

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Welcome to this week’s edition of Zach’s Weather Whys.

Do you ever find yourself telling your neighbor or the person in the checkout line about how bad the winter has been?
It’s a good talking point, but there’s actually a way to measure how severe the winter is for your location.

It’s called the accumulated winter season severity index. It was created and is geared for research purposes, and that’s why it’s not something you regularly hear about.

The index is based on three categories or weather variables. The first thing takes into account the intensity and persistence of cold temps. Then we look at how much snow we received over the season.
The third variable accounts for how much snow stays on the ground and how often the ground stays white.
There is a problem with this index, is it doesn’t account for wind or mixed precipitation types.
Here in Central Illinois, that would likely impact our rating on most years.

It’s rated at five different levels, starting off at mild and topping off at extreme.

For the 2019 through 2020 winter, most of Southern Illinois recorded a mild winter through February. Central Illinois falls under the moderate or level two rating.

The index is a great way to determine how severe this winter is compared to previous ones.

By these standards, it’s safe to say we’ve had much worse winters in Central Illinois.
We did surpass the Peoria yearly average of 24 inches of snowfall already this season, but at least our winter season severity index is still below average. Last winter, our region qualified in the severe category. This is appropriate given the record-setting cold and frequent winter storms.

That will do it for this time, join me again for another segment of Zach’s Weather Whys.

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