Winter has gone missing across the Midwest and Great Lakes, and time is running out to find it. Dozens of cities are on track for one of the warmest winters on record, making snow and ice rare commodities.

Several cities are missing feet of snow compared to a typical winter, ice on the Great Lakes is near record-low levels and the springlike temperatures have even spawned rare wintertime severe thunderstorms.

A classic El Niño pattern coupled with the effects of a warming climate are to blame for this “non-winter” winter, said Pete Boulay, a climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Winter has become the fastest-warming season for nearly 75% of the US and snowfall is declining around the globe as temperatures rise because of human-caused climate change.

    5 months ago

    Where I live, our winters are typically like this. It’s never been particularly stable, often oscillating between spring-like warm weather, standard cold winter weather, and stretches of extreme arctic blasts.

    What has been unusual is that we haven’t had any snow at all so far, not even an ephemeral flurry. We haven’t had any wintry weather (i.e. sleet, snow, freezing rain) this winter. And for that to be the case in mid February is definitely unusual. If we go this entire winter with no wintry weather, it will be the first time in my lifetime that I can recall.

    Coincidentally, back in the fall the long term forecasts for this winter were suggesting we would have more wintry weather than normal in this area, since there would be more moisture and more frequently extreme cold events (as well as cooler than normal temps).