U.S. experiences warmest winter on record

Source: By Doyle Rice, USA Today • Posted: Monday, March 14, 2016

The United States has seen its warmest winter on record this year, with the temperature 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

From December through February, the average temperature for the Lower 48 was 36.8 F, trumping the 1999-2000 record of 36.5 F, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The intense El Niño climate pattern could be one of the reasons for the unusual warmth, according to NOAA.

The unusual heat occurred even as a debilitating and record-breaking January blizzard affected the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

The strange lack of snow over the three-month period has benefited some and hurt others.

Vermont’s ski industry, for example, took a hit with the lack of natural snow. Similarly, the 10.6 F jump above normal in Alaska deprived its famed Iditarod sled dog race in Anchorage of snow.

While skiers and mushers suffered, many others benefited from the unusual heat with a lower heating bill. In Ohio, the average heating bill for a home was the lowest in 10 years.

U.S. weather records have been kept since 1895