Wright-Patt Weather Flight: Winter was ‘very warmer than normal’

  • Published
  • By Zion Dillahunt
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

As of April 3: Revision made to graphic.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- As we slowly transition to spring, the 88th Operations Support Squadron’s Base Weather Flight team took some time to reflect on this latest winter, which offered some historic data and significant changes in the Miami Valley.

“We expected to have an El Niño winter this past season,” he said. “El Niño winters are drier and slightly warmer, but this winter was much warmer than normal.”

According to the National Weather Service in Wilmington, 2023-2024 ranked as the warmest winter ever for Ohio.

February was the second-warmest month ever at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, according to Jim Lane, senior operational meteorologist at the 88 OSS Base Weather Flight.

The prediction of an El Niño winter indeed held true. The stats displayed that total precipitation – ice, rain and snow combined – decreased by 20% compared to last year’s winter.

This past winter also revealed a significant decrease in snowfall. The average is typically 23.1 inches of snow in the Miami Valley area. This winter only reached 8.1, said Lane.

Overall, it was an unusual winter but there were other changes logistically.

Lane said the Base Weather Flight team recently aligned its winter storm warning criteria with the weather service.

Wright-Patterson AFB’s winter storm weather watch and warning criteria has increased from 2 to 6 inches or greater of snow.

However, there will now be winter advisories for 3-6 inches of snow. Advisories for less than 3 inches could also be issued when travel conditions may be significantly impacted by winter weather.

Alignment with the weather service has been consistent regarding thunderstorms, 58 mph winds, large hail and tornadoes but not for snow. Until now.

“This synchronization of messages helps the base populace in the immediate commutable areas receive consistent messaging,” Lane said. “This prevents conflicting messaging to our geographically dispersed workforce across Greene and Montgomery counties.”

The Weather Flight team is a 365-day, 24/7 contracted operation that delivers airfield, staff, and mission support weather services to Wright-Patterson AFB and geographically separated units, as well as the National Airborne Operations Center.

“Our goal here is to provide quality resource protection for our population and assets,” Lane said.