USA Breaks Another Record with Warmest Winter

It was so hot that the Iditarod had to ship seven rail cars of snow from Fairbanks to Anchorage so the mushers would have enough of the white stuff to race. It was so hot that two Vermont ski resorts, accustomed to 250 inches of prime powder, closed last month due to lack of snow.

No, those aren't the punchlines to a bad joke. Turns out the numbers and the record books show it's no joke at all: The U.S. saw its warmest winter on record – a whopping 4.6 degrees above average.

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The December-February average temperature for the Lower 48 states was 36.8 degrees, breaking the previous record set in the winter of 1999-2000 of 36.5 degrees, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The U.S. hit the numbers for record warmth even as a crippling blizzard struck in January, breaking all-time snowfall records for a single snowstorm in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and short-lived but intense cold snap struck in mid-February.

But the three-month stretch was more notable for its uncharacteristic lack of snow.

All six New England states saw record warm winters. Vermont's ski industry took a hit, in what the Burlington Free Press called one of the worst winters on record for natural snow.