This U.S. winter considered average

March 18, 2004 at 4:08 PM
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ASHEVILLE, N.C., March 18 (UPI) -- U.S. climatologists said though the 2003-04 winter produced bouts of extreme weather, overall the season finished about average in the record books.

Preliminary data from the National Weather Service indicate the average temperature for the contiguous United States for the December-February winter season was 33.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.7 degrees above average, and the 42nd warmest winter since nationwide record-keeping began in 1895.

The eastern states were colder than normal, while warmer-than-average conditions affected much of the rest of the country, said NWS scientists. No state was much warmer or colder than average for the season.

Periods of unusually heavy rain and snow hit parts of the country, and above-average precipitation helped alleviate drought in some parts of the West, but rainfall was near average for the contiguous United States. The global surface temperature was much warmer than the long-term mean for the December-February season, the scientists added.

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