What are the effects of the mild, dry winter we’ve had so far?


ST. LOUIS – Harsh is not a word we would use to describe our winter so far. Average monthly temperatures have been three to four degrees above normal. That can be a problem when it comes to controlling pests. Stink bugs and ladybugs love mild winters.

“They come in through cracks and crevices. They tend to home in on those areas where there is warmth escaping the house in the fall with those first cold temperatures,” said Jay Everitt, technical director at Rottler Pest Solutions. “But if we don’t have a harsh winter, they’ll sit there and survive, basically overwinter inside your home.”

Everitt says insects seem to be able to tolerate a gradual change in temperatures but can’t handle a more drastic drop.

“If we get into a fifty-degree day and the next day it goes to the twenties, that’s a drastic change and that can really affect them and. A lot of times, that will kill them for that fact.”

Rainfall is about an inch and three quarters below normal since Dec. 1, including just one inch of snowfall total. In January alone, we are behind 0.054 of an inch on the month. With normal stream flows in the area rivers and below-normal snowpack to the north, the very early signs point to good news for spring flooding.

“Right now, it’s looking favorable for the rivers not to get as high as they usually do in the spring,” said Mark Fuchs, senior service hydrologist with the National Weather Service office here in St. Louis. “That’s wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. It would certainly help out folks now have to mitigate against flooding, flooding issues during the wetter years.”

In fact, we’ve been dry since the fall and forecasters are already watching for growing drought concerns. But new forecast data is providing some hope.

The Climate Prediction Center is predicting an above-normal chance of above-normal precipitation, not just for February, but for the spring months of February, March, and April,” says Fuchs. “If we don’t get that, we could not be in a real good place come May and June when the warmer weather kicks in.”

It’s important to remember that there is a lot of winter left to go so we’ll wait to see what February and March have to offer.

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