MASSENA - The official start of spring is under two weeks away and temperatures in parts of the county finally crawled above freezing Friday afternoon.
This weekends potential for warmer weather cannot take away from the bitter cold winter that the north country has experienced thus far though.
According to the National Weather Service, Burlington, Vt., subzero temperatures have stricken the Massena community on 36 different days this season, nearly 10 more than the average winter.
We have records that go back to 1948 and the average number of days below zero is 27. So it has surpassed that by about 10, a good margin, meteorologist Andy Nash said. The most days below zero were in 1994 when it was 49 days.
Mr. Nash also said 36 fis the highest number of days that reached below zero in Massena since the 2003-04 winter. That year also brought 36 days of arctic-like atmosphere to the area, while the 2002-2003 season had 43 days.
The last four winters its all been less than 20 days below zero. In perspective, weve had twice the amount of below zero days, the meteorologist said.
Snow totals for the county have been relatively on track with the norm, even a bit less than the typical accumulation total. Gouverneur is the primary location for the NWS to record high snow totals due to the lake effect it receives from Lake Ontario and even there, people have seen a bit less snow this winter.
So far this year Gouvernuur has had 73.5 inches of snow. The average has been 78 inches, so it has been pretty close to normal. Last year there were 68.5 inches and the year before that it was 44.9 inches, Mr. Nash said. The record for most snow was during the winter of 1970-1971 when there were 141.3 inches.
Looking at the past few weeks, Mr. Nash said that Feb. 12 was the coldest day of the month for Massena, where temperatures dropped as low as 22 below zero. So far two record lows have been observed in March.
On March 5 it was a record 14 below and March 6 it reached 23 below zero, Mr. Nash said.