Winter’s Coldest Time
Much of the country is entering its coldest stretch of days. Differences in topography, latitude and proximity to large bodies of water all play a role in the climate of individual areas. However, due to climate change, the coldest days of winter are losing their chill.
Climate Central analyzed the average temperature on what is statistically the coldest stretch of days for 244 weather stations across the country, and how those temperatures have trended over the past fifty years. 83% of locations analyzed are losing their winter chill, especially in the Northeast, Southeast and Alaska.
Losing winter’s cold comes with important consequences. Warmer temperatures mean that more winter precipitation is falling as rain instead of snow—impacting the Northeast and mountainous Southeast regions where the economies of many smaller, rural communities depend on winter sports tourism.
In the West, a shrinking snowpack dries out the landscape and affects freshwater supplies for residential, commercial and agricultural uses. Agriculture is also impacted by warmer winters - diminishing fruit crop yields and favoring the survival of insect pests (including ticks and mosquitoes).