A long cold winter

This winter in Crete has seemed interminable. We had very little sunny weather, a lot of rain and many grey days. Not at all what I am used to in Crete where we do have cold weather, heavy rain and storms but they are generally quickly followed by periods of bright sunny weather.
I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t only my perception that was distorted (and weather is so incredibly subjective) so I went and checked some weather statistics. First you can get a good baseline with this page showing average monthly temperatures in Chania, Souda weather station over 40 years.
Then you can go to this site for monthly statistics (they only go back to 1997 though) to quickly find that the last 5 months (October to February) were all below the 40 years averages although December was only a little bit below.
Digging further – it’s not that I have so much free time but I am avoiding doing some other work 😉  – I found that October 2011 was the coldest October on record (since 1996 – I don’t have earlier statistics).
November 2011 was the coldest since 2006 (the only November that was colder in the last 15 years).
December was not so much colder than average (five December months were a little colder in the past 15 years).
January 2012 was the coldest month in the last 15 years (but equal to 2006, 2004 and 2000).
February 2012 was the coldest month in the last 15 years except for 2003 which was about 1°C colder).

So this is not only subjective, we are really having a very long cold winter. This is the first time that I see snow stay on the mountains throughout the winter from the very first snow in October and there is more being added almost every day.
How fast it will melt will of course very much depend on the temperatures in March and April (and whether we get hot South wind storms which can melt snow really fast) but I would not be surprised if snow stayed on the mountains well into the summer.

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2 Responses to A long cold winter

  1. Apostolos says:

    Jean: Nice summary! You are faster than the meteorologists 😉 It is indeed as you said: a cold, fairly rainy (though not extremely), cloudy, and, especially, long winter. Perhaps the last time that this happened to this extent was 1991-92, but I have to go back to the data of that year in order to see which one was colder on average. There were other very memorable winters in between (2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2007-08), in some cases with snow events that we did not necessarily see this year, but the current one is probably the longest..

    Omalos must have had snow cover for a couple of months now, right? At least partly..

    BTW: I wouldn’t say that it is rare to have snow throughout the winter on the mountains. It happens almost every year. But I do agree that it is rare to have non-stop snow from mid-autumn to the end of the winter (and later).

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