The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

March 1, 2010

Winter is among coldest in 30 years

By Wally Kennedy

The winter of 2009-2010 could go down in the record books as one of the coldest in 30 years.

“An unusually persistent weather pattern contributed to this long cold spell,” said Pat Guinan, a climatologist with the University of Missouri Extension service. “One of the strongest cold snaps in more than a decade occurred during the first 10 days of January.”

Preliminary numbers rank this winter as the coldest since the severe winters of 1978-79 and 1979-80. Those ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the coldness record.

This winter is the first since 1981-82 that below-normal temperatures were reported in December, January and February, the primary months for cold weather in Missouri.

Gene Hatch, a climatologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in Springfield, said: “We have experienced an exceedingly long period of below-normal temperatures in the Joplin area.

“The normal average daily temperature for December through January is 39 degrees. The average this winter was below freezing at 31.9 degrees.”

The average daily temperature was 4.3 degrees below normal in December, 4.1 degrees below normal in January and 7 degrees below normal in February.

“It has a lot to do with the weather pattern we have been stuck in,” Hatch said. “We have been experiencing that since last July. It’s a semi-permanent pattern in which a ridge develops over the western United States, and that creates a trough for cold Canadian air to spill into the Midwest.”

The low temperatures ensured that snow would stay on the ground longer than normal.

“It’s been quite a few years since we have had snow on the ground for a week or more at a time,” Hatch said. “It usually disappears in two to three days.”

Hatch said some parts of Southwest Missouri had at least an inch of snow on the ground from Christmas to Jan. 19. Portions of northwest Missouri reported snow totals of nearly 50 inches. Southwest Missouri received about 20 inches.

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Carthage, Jasper County