Region’s winter was one to envy

  • Thu Mar 18th, 2010 11:08pm
  • News

By Bill Sheets Herald Writer

The Puget Sound region’s weather this winter, which ends today, not only has been mild, it’s been the best in the nation when compared against 30-year averages.

To mark the first day of spring Saturday, The Weather Channel compiled data on temperatures and precipitation from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 for nearly every ZIP code in the nation, said David Blumenthal, spokesman for the Atlanta-based TV station.

Seattle topped the nationwide list for best weather during that time, with temperature ranking far above its 30-year averages and precipitation well below. Portland, Ore., ranked third and Spokane fifth.

On the rough side, Miami Beach, Fla., ranked worst, with its second-coldest winter since 1927. Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., with their record snowfalls tied for second worst, with Philadelphia right behind.

Seattle experienced its warmest January on record, with the average temperature at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 46.9 degrees, compared to an average of 40.9 since 1945, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. Not one day in January was colder than average, according to The Weather Channel.

“We definitely have had a warmer-than-normal and drier-than-normal winter, especially when you look at the second half, especially after the new year,” said Dennis D’Amico, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

From Dec. 21 through Wednesday, the winter tied 1981 for Seattle’s third-warmest, behind 1992 and 1995, D’Amico said.

Seattle had 64 days of above-average temperatures between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28, according to The Weather Channel.

D’Amico attributed the warmer-than-normal winter to El Nino, a cyclical warming of the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean that stirs up weather patterns all over North America every few years.

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Best weather cities

According to data compiled by The Weather Channel for the winter of 2009-10, the top 10 are:

1. Seattle

2. Taos, N.M.

3. Portland, Ore.

4. Honolulu

5. Spokane

6. Alpena, Mich.

7. Denver

8. Fairbanks, Alaska

9. Los Angeles

10. Boston

Worst cities

1. Miami Beach, Fla.

2. Tie: Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

3. Philadelphia, Pa.

4. Dallas

5. Oklahoma City

6. Atlantic City, N.J.

7. Fargo, N.D.

8. Atlanta

9. Des Moines, Iowa

10. Portland, Maine