We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas.
December to date has made one of the greatest year-over-year changes toward colder weather in 121 years. Last year was record warm (warmest in 121 years of record keeping) for the U.S. overall but this year national high temperatures are a whopping 9.9F colder than last year and -2.5F below average. Low temperatures are 8.8F colder than last year as well. For both consumers and businesses this epic change can be good news and bad news. Good news for retailers selling Winter merchandise as every 1F colder can bring a 2% bounce in soup/hot beverage sales, 5% bounce in coat sales, 8% bounce in Auto Battery sales and 20% for portable heater sales. Multiplying that 9.9F drop in YOY temperatures translates to whopping sales gains for businesses - soup sales up 20%+, coats up 50%+ and heaters up 200%+. The bad news will come when you see how much higher your electric/heating bill will be up 30% to 60% more than last year.
Precipitation is still trending above average but drier than last year for the U.S. overall. This is a good case study show how you don't need much moisture to make a lot of snow so you can have below average precipitation but have above average snowfall when it's really cold. As an example, Chicago December to date precipitation is 15% below average yet snowfall is 260% above average with 17.7" of snow and the 3rd most in decades.
The chart below shows how 1" of liquid can bring dramatically different snowfall depending on how cold it is. 1" of liquid equivalent available in a snow storm at 32F only produces 10" of wet snow but that same 1" of liquid equivalent at 10F produces 30" of fine powdery snow. The reason there has been so much snow in the Midwest-Plains despite generally below average precipitation.
The next major nation-wide Arctic blast looks to invade the U.S. 1 January in the West and then into the Midwest by 4 January and off the East Coast by 6 January.
We hope you have a wonderful remaining few days of 2016 and excited about a new year! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.
Captain Kirk out.