Toughest Winter Ever

This winter has been nothing short of remarkable. Between the relentless snow and the bitter cold, many have said it’s the worst winter they’ve ever lived through. But can we really classify this as the toughest winter ever?

Let’s start off with snowy stats. It seemed like it snowed just about every day in Fort Wayne. That might be an exaggeration but not by much. 63 days saw a trace of snowfall and 41 days this winter featured more than a trace (highest ever)! And, as I’m sure you remember, we saw at least a trace of snow on every single weekend.

Fort Wayne had two different snowstorms drop greater than 6” of snow in a single day – one of only 4 winters for that to ever happen. We had the snowiest January and the snowiest month ever with 30.3 inches of snow falling in the first month of 2014. February also ranks as the 3rd snowiest since records began with 19.2 inches of snow.

Almost 5 feet (59.4 inches) of snow fell this season – ranking this as the second snowiest winter ever! We were only about 0.8″ shy of breaking the all-time record. And the snow really didn’t go away. Measurable snowpack was on the ground at Fort Wayne International Airport for 64 days this winter.

That snow stuck around because of unprecedented cold – so cold it often stung your face and took your breath away. We saw the 6th coldest January and the 5th coldest February ever. 60 days (or two-thirds of this winter) had max temperatures at or below freezing, including a 17-day stretch in February that we didn’t even make it above freezing. 19 days had subzero temperatures and  7 of those days were double digits below zero.

Amazingly, we dropped down to as low as -16 degrees twice this winter in The Summit City.

Fort Wayne broke or tied 7 daily record low temperatures this winter, some records that had held up since 1899. With temperatures averaging about 6.5 degrees below normal, this will go down in the record books as the 6th coldest winter ever.

And we can’t forget about those winds that made it feel much colder. 55 days this winter had winds of 20 mph or greater. Those gusty winds made wind chill a big concern. We saw wind chills down to -43° back in January – the 4th coldest wind chill ever observed.

Meteorological stats aside, the wintry conditions brought serious impacts to our area. The bouts of snow and blowing snow created downright nasty road conditions on several days. It was hard to even find the road in some rural areas! Road conditions and the dangerous cold caused a total of 51 cancellations for the 4 biggest school districts in Allen County – causing schools to scramble to make up days. This year’s 12 cancellations for FWCS alone doubled the old record of 6 cancellations back in the 2010-2011 school year.

This winter also had serious city impacts. According to Fort Wayne Public Works, crews have been working 24/7 since the first of the year to maintain water service and repair water main breaks. Road crews have driven over 274,000 miles and used over 86,000 gallons of fuel and 20,000 tons of salt to maintain the roads. In many cases, most of these figures are double those during the Ice Storm of 2009.

And of course, you can’t forget about the numerous potholes, frozen pipes, higher heat & water bills, roof collapses, and medical cases that can all somehow be attributed to this wild winter.

All things considered, we’re saying this has been the “Toughest Winter Ever” in Fort Wayne, Indiana! So congratulations! You survived!

Don’t celebrate too much yet though – just because meteorological winter is over doesn’t mean we’re done getting snow.

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