The first half of winter (December 1 through January 15) is behind us and if it has felt a lot colder than last year the data definitely supports that perception. The average temperature during that stretch was 10.5 degrees colder this year then that same period last winter. Granted, that is a significant difference, but as a reminder, last winter was the warmest on record and the first half of the winter of 2011-2012 was nearly 4 degrees warmer than any other such period since records began.
Although this season has been much colder than last year, it is still running approximately 4 degrees above average, so unless the next six weeks record well below average temperatures, this will be our second winter in a row with an above average temperature. Previous to the past two years we recorded four colder than average cold seasons. In fact, the first half of the winter of 2008-2009 the average temperatures was 8 degrees below average.