, Salem, MA


February 26, 2014

New index confirms it: It's a miserable winter


Boustead uses daily high and low temperatures and daily and accumulated snowfall to come up with a winter index that’s equivalent to the way meteorologists categorize hurricanes and tornadoes. Officially, it is called the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index.

“I personally would call this a misery index,” said Boustead.

But to co-creator Steve Hilberg, the index measures “awesomeness.”

“I embrace winter rather than hating it,” said Hilberg, a meteorologist who works at the Midwest Regional Climate Center in Champaign, Ill.

New York, Milwaukee and Duluth are in the midst of their fourth harshest winters. Also having top-10 harshest winters are Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota; Louisville, Ky.; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Cheyenne, Wyo.

The idea is to put winter in context. This winter seems unusually harsh because it has been a while since the late 1970s and early 1980s when severe winters were far more frequent. People have short memories.

Plus, for almost three-quarters of the places studied the winter of 2011-2012 was the mildest on record, Boustead said.

But why Detroit?

Just bad geography and luck. Much of the cold and snow this winter is because of a change in the jet stream that has funneled frigid air south from the Arctic “right down the alley” through Detroit, Hilberg said.

The winter index keeps going, until the cold, snowy weather stops. And that’s at least a couple weeks away, according to forecasts.

“We’re going to push that index a little bit higher,” Boustead said. “Let’s see how much higher we can go.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Local News
  • Officials look for sex offender who cut off GPS bracelet SALEM -- Police and probation officials are searching for a Level 3 sex offender who cut off a court-mandated GPS bracelet on Tuesday and disappeared. Matthew John Delima, 31, who is registered as homeless and living in Salem, had just learned that

    July 31, 2014

  • Pair indicted on human trafficking, kidnapping charges DANVERS -- A grand jury has indicted two men who, police say, used motels in Saugus and Danvers after kidnapping a woman and coercing her into prostitution over three days, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Thursday. One of the defendants in

    July 31, 2014

  • Baker(1) GOP's Baker to unveil plan to fight drug addiction

    BOSTON (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker has unveiled what he's calling a comprehensive approach to tackling the drug addiction crisis in Massachusetts.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140730_SN_DLE_DEMOLITION5 Demolition of Salem Harbor Station begins

    SALEM -- It all begins with B5. Or ends, depending on how you look at it. Demolition began at Salem Harbor Station Wednesday afternoon, with crews first setting upon one of the power plant's 11 steel tanks. The work was supposed to begin Monday, but

    July 31, 2014 7 Photos

  • Market Basket seeks replacement workers through job fair next week

    Market Basket began advertising a job fair for store managers and assistant managers in a direct shot at the current managers who signed petitions Monday threatening to resign if former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is not rehired. The ad, which will appear

    July 31, 2014 2 Stories