Bitter cold start to 2018, warming trend continues

Bitter cold start to 2018, warming trend continues
Warmer temperatures may sound good but for many South Georgians and the environment, they can result in unwelcome weather. (Source: NOAA)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Our first cold snap, two weeks before the official start of winter brought record snow to the deep south.

Surprisingly there were two more rare snow events.

Both in January and across South Georgia. The snowfall was impressive up to two inches fell.

It was exciting but also brutally cold. So cold, that Albany's January average low of 35 degrees is now the coldest on record in more than 100 years.

You could say we've had some crazy weather this winter but is there more to come?

First, let's look at the trend and see if climate change is having an impact.

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This year's arctic outbreak had all of us bundled up. And although it came during the coldest time of the year, it was unusual. According to climate research as the planet warms from greenhouse gases winters won't be the same.

Our friends at Climate Central crunched the numbers and Albany has warmed three degrees in almost 50 years.

With just a month of winter left, the outlook calls for above average temperatures and below average rainfall. That's warmer and drier than normal.  For those with allergies, early blooms may lead to very high pollen counts. And with a lack of rain, drought may persist.

Despite a warmer end to winter, a late-season cold snap is possible. Last year a mid-March freeze damaged peaches and blueberries which bloomed three weeks early during a warm February. On average the last frost date is March 9th.

Did you know that warm winters often lead to an early severe weather season?

Since 2000, February and March have been hit with more than two dozen severe weather events. Among them major flooding, and two of the deadliest tornado outbreaks, one Valentine's Day 2000, and the other March 1, 2017.

Warmer temperatures may sound good but for many South Georgians and the environment, they can result in unwelcome weather.

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