David Duprey / AP
A warm March 20 in Buffalo, N.Y., made for a nice time to take a break from driving.
From record-smashing March warmth, including 80s in northern climes, to a startling lack of snow, to, in one location, record snow leading to a spring snowmelt mess, 2012 so far has thrown a number of curve balls for those looking for a bit of "normalcy."
We've picked out six cities for which the weather has been particularly strange through the first four-plus months of 2012, stretching from New England to The Last Frontier.
Let's kick off the list with an infamously snowy city that lacked snow this season.
In other locations, the phrase, "three feet of snow" may grab your attention, eliciting thoughts of snow days, or open ski slopes.
However, in Buffalo, N.Y., 3 feet of snow (36.7" to be precise) was the total snowfall for the entire season, just under 5 feet less than an average season. In essence, a meteorological disappointment. This included an unusual "brown Christmas."
Instead, as in several other locations, temperatures soared in March.
Buffalo had three straight March days with highs in the 80s, including a new March record high of 82 degrees the day after the spring equinox (March 21). Previously, it had only one other March day in the 80s dating to 1873. As it turned out, March was warmer than April in Buffalo, as in several other cities. That feat is difficult to accomplish.
(MORE: March Warmer than April)
Just when people may have written off winter, an April "Snowpril" storm, while dumping heavier snow in the hills south of town, managed to bring a slushy inch to the city itself.
(PHOTOS: Snowpril Snowstorm)
From not enough to record snow, let's head to The Last Frontier for our next "strange-weather" city.
What's so strange about snow in Alaska? In Alaska's largest city, it was all about the amount of snow that made the snow season memorable.
More than 11 feet of snow (134.5" as of May 8) fell during the season in Anchorage, a full five feet above the long-term average, or roughly 8 feet more than Buffalo received.
The weight of all this snow led to some building collapses, and caused cracks in some homes. City snow removal crews hauled more than 2.5 million cubic yards of snow to six snow disposal sites, all near capacity, with a total volume of snow estimated to almost fill the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, according to the Associated Press.
(MORE: Anchorage Record Snow Woes)
Then, of course, all that snow has to melt, leaving a spring mess of water in basements and crawl spaces.
No "Sandbag Central" with volunteers working to fill three million sandbags this spring.
After 3 straight springs of major flooding, including a record 2009 crest, the good people of the Red River Valley finally had a spring free of widespread flood worries.
First, it started with a lack of winter snow. Only 27" fell in Fargo all season, compared to a whopping 88.5" in the 2010-2011 season. It was so dry, in fact, that parts of the Peace Garden State slipped into moderate drought by late November which still persists in spots in spring. When is the last time you heard drought and North Dakota in the same sentence?
The topper was the incredible March warmth.
Fargo had four straight days with highs at least 76 degrees from March 16-19. Yes, that was technically still in winter, just days before the spring equinox! If there had been significant snowcover, a warm spell of that magnitude and duration would've triggered a rapid snowmelt that may have overwhelmed any flood fighting effort. But not in spring 2012. Instead, it was time to break out the T-shirts and shorts and celebrate a much less stressful spring.
I would argue no state in the U.S. has seen more extreme weather since the start of 2011 than Connecticut.
How much more strange could 2012 be?
First, "Snowtober" wasn't exactly a precursor to the rest of the season. After an October record 12.3" of snow, only another 14.4" fell the rest of the season! October's snow almost exceeded that of January and February, combined! Contrast that to January 2011, when a whopping 54.3" was measured there.
The first four months of 2012 were, in fact, the second driest such period on record in the state.
Then, there's the warmth. January through April 2012 was the record warmest such period on record in Connecticut, as well as 25 other states. Hartford had its warmest March day since 1998 on March 22, reaching 83 degrees. They, then, one-upped themselves in April, peaking at 92 degrees for a high on April 16.
You want truly bizarre warmth? Try heading to the Great Lakes for our next "strange-weather" city of 2012.
Traverse City, Mich.
In a sea of warmth records shattered across the Midwest, Northeast and South in March 2012, perhaps no location stood out more than Traverse City, Mich.
In a five-day stretch from March 17-21, 2012, the "Cherry Capital of the World" tied, then broke the previous all-time March record high, topping out at an incredible 87 degrees just one day after the spring equinox, March 21. Dating to 1896, the nearest date with a daily record high of 87 degrees was April 16!
Speaking of April, the thermometer took an abrupt plunge back to reality. Fifteen April mornings had lows in the 20s in Traverse City. Never mind the shorts and suntan lotion...get back out the winter jacket!
The annual Tulip Time Festival in nearby Holland, Mich., the first week of May became a "stemfest" thanks to the early March bloom of flowers.
Some locations along the Front Range of the Rockies typically get their heaviest snowfalls in the spring, not winter. The key word here is "typically."
Wyoming's capital city measured a paltry 0.4" of snow in March and April, 2012, combined, shattering a least snowy March-April record that had stood since 1889 (2.5"). On average, 21.6" of snow falls in Cheyenne in March and April, their two snowiest months of an average year.
Instead, Cheyenne had seven March days in the 70s, including two days with a high of 74 degrees. Only a March day in 1879 was warmer, there. In April, the Frontier City stepped up the warmth, with a high of 80 degrees on April 24, 2012. Keep in mind, Cheyenne is 6,067 feet above sea-level, so this warmth is even more incredible.
Then, just this past Monday, May 7, wet snow fell in the capital city in the morning, as wind chills plunged into the middle 20s. Only a trace of snow officially fell that day, and May averages 2-3" of snow in Cheyenne. However, it seemed a proper flip-flop to what has been a strange spring in Wyoming.