While some locations were experiencing major winter storms and record-setting snowfalls, these 10 cities rested easy. With the help of imagery provided by our iWitness Weather viewers, we'll explain in detail why these 10 cities made our 2010 Best Winter Locations list.
10. Boston, MA
Boston's winter was far from spectacular. The chill and cloud cover were locked in for the majority of the winter. But one look to their south and the city will see a region of the country that was absolutely pounded by multiple heavy, record-setting snowfall events. The city of Boston escaped the wrath of each major snowstorm time and time again. Storms either tracked to their south or the warm influence from the Atlantic Ocean kept snow amounts down. Maybe it wasn't a great winter but it could have been far worse.
9. Los Angeles, CA
It's all about "expectations" with the City of Angels. Did El Nino impact Southern California this past winter season? Yes. Did it rival the El Nino years of 1982-83 or 1997-98? Not even close. The three-day period of January 19th to the 21st was a tumultuous time in Southern California as bouts of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms (including tornadoes) pounded the region. Still, aside from that particular severe weather event, that's all she wrote. A moderate-to-strong El Nino winter season typically produces several heavy rain events for Los Angeles, but all in all the city escaped this winter with hardly a scratch.
8. Fairbanks, AK
A cold eastern United States winter generally corresponds with a period of above-average temperatures within the state of Alaska. That's exactly what occurred this winter season in Fairbanks. During the months of December and February, Fairbanks experienced above and well-above average temperatures respectively. Meanwhile, heavy snowfall was glaringly absent.
7. Denver, CO
When you analyze Denver's 2009-2010 winter, it's nearly non-descript. When a winter season is non-descript that usually is a good thing. Denver's winter lacked any significant winter storms with an active storm track that generally stayed to Colorado's south. Yes, temperatures did remain at or below average for the majority of the season but a winter season without any crippling snowstorms in the city is a win in our book That said, Denver can get the majority of their snow in spring, or fall, not winter.
6. Alpena, MI
The Gaylord, Michigan NWS office called it a "Whimper of a Winter." Known for its harsh winters, Northern Michigan was greeted with a fairly benign season. Precipitation (snowfall) was well below average. There was much less shoveling and snowblowing required. Meanwhile, temperatures in Northern Michigan were roughly 1-to-3 degrees above average. Brutal, bitter cold? -- not this year.
5. Spokane, WA
What a difference a year makes! With just 13.7 inches of snow, the 2009-2010 winter in Spokane will go down as the least snowiest. In fact, during the month of February, the city picked up less than an inch of snow. By the end of the winter season last year, Spokane was nearing 90 inches of snow. House and business roofs were collapsing due to the weight of the snow. This year, three Spokane-area golf courses opened for business by mid-February.
4. Honolulu, HI
Honolulu? Sure, we could place Honolulu (or any city in Hawaii) number one on the list for "best" winter every year. But this is all about "expectations." Very little rain fell over the islands during this past winter season. So-called "Kona storms" were virtually absent. In fact, many areas of the state are in a drought. Still, if you look at this from a tourist's eyes, a visit to the islands this winter season meant a vacation full of constant sunshine, warmth and next to no rainfall. That has to place Honolulu into the "best" winter category.
3. Portland, OR
It was one of the warmest starts of the year for Portland and other cities of Western Oregon. The January/February 2010 combo was the third warmest on record with an average mean temperature of 45.8 degrees. Furthermore, two out of the three winter months recorded below-average precipitation. Typical persistent cold and damp weather was the exception, not the rule this season.
2 . Taos, NM (and adjacent ski resorts in New Mexico)
Sometimes New Mexico and Arizona can lack for snow. Such was definitely not the case this winter. Snow was plentiful, and cold air both preserved the snowpack, and allowed for snowmaking. In nearby Arizona, one ski resort is remaining open through the first 10 days of April! This gives a whole new meaning to the "Cactus League!"
1. Seattle, WA
64 days were warmer than average during the winter season (December 1 -- February 28). We could just end our explanation right there. OK, how about this... Not one day in the month of January was colder than average. With that in mind, it's no surprise January 2010 was the warmest on record for Seattle. Throw in the drier-than-average months of December and February and winter 2009-2010 was fairly pleasant and ranks as our #1 "best" winter city. You've reviewed the best but who was the worst? See which cities made our Top 10 Worst Winter Locations list and why.
You've reviewed the best but who was the worst? See which cities made our Top 10 Worst Winter Locations list and why.source