It’s been a real New England winter this year, and as February comes to a close, numbers tell the story.
One day before the end of the month, records from the National Weather Service station in Edgartown show that total snowfall on the Vineyard is 25 inches for the year to date. Nearly all of that snow fell in January and February, when the Island had 10 and 15 inches respectively. A scant one inch of snow fell in December.
Average annual snowfall for the Vineyard is 24.7 inches.
Meteorologists say this winter has been typical for New England; what may make it seem more harsh is the fact that last year was dramatically atypical with above-average temperatures and very little snow, followed by an unusually early spring.
This year winter storms arrived with regularity, especially in February when the Vineyard had snow or rainstorms nearly every weekend, including a good wallop from the blizzard named Nemo mid-month that dropped more than two feet of snow north and west of Boston. On the Island the storm arrived with hurricane-force winds, ice and drifting snow that forced ferries to shut down for a day and a half.
Average daily temperatures have been more normal this winter too. In February the high temperatures were in the 20s and 30s, only rarely reaching the 40s. Storms prevailed throughout the month. There were 17 days in February with some measurable precipitation. There were 20 days when there was some snow on the ground.
“Last winter was an abnormal winter. We were out of the storm track. This year we had a quiet start to the year and now we are catching some of the storms,” said William Babcock, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton this week.
He said the storms hitting the Vineyard are coming from a variety of directions. “Either they swing up to the Great Lakes and develop along the coast, or they drop down to the Gulf of Mexico and develop and recharge moving up the coast. We’ve had both,” Mr. Babcock said.