Mar 9, 2023 - News

Dallas had one of its warmest winters on record

Average winter temperatures in Dallas
Data: Climate Central; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

This winter has been one of Dallas' warmest on record, despite the snow and ice days we endured this season.

Why it matters: Precipitation extremes are happening more frequently nationwide and getting more intense.

The big picture: Climate Central, which describes itself as a policy-neutral nonprofit, analyzed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data from across the country and found that winter is the fastest-warming season for much of the continental U.S.

  • About 80% of the country now has at least seven more winter days with above-normal temperatures compared with 1970, per Climate Central.

Zoom in: Dallas' weather data spans 125 years, and Climate Central’s analysis shows this winter is tied for the seventh-warmest on record.

  • The average temperature from December 2022 through February was about 52°F, almost 5 degrees warmer than the winter of 1970.

State of play: Not only are winters warming overall, but cold snaps are becoming less severe and shorter in duration, the latest research shows.

  • That could explain why our winter has been so hot and cold.

Of note: The notorious freeze of Feb. 16, 2021, was the second-coldest day on record in Dallas, according to the National Weather Service.

Zoom out: This winter has been especially mild across areas east of the Mississippi River. But across the West, it's been colder than average.

  • Preliminary NOAA data processed by Climate Central shows there have been 4,857 daily record highs set or tied in the Lower 48 states this winter, and 4,421 daily record lows set or tied.

The bottom line: Over the coming years, most of the country can expect to feel climate change's effects most acutely during the winter months.

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