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The snowiest winter ever

Will March come in like a lion or a lamb?

PRINCETON — From one extreme to another … Mother Nature appears to be somewhat temperamental.

The Quad Cities area, including Bureau County, has recorded its snowiest winter on record but saw temperatures this week near 50 degrees, creating lots of melting snow and potential flooding. On top of that, there was rain with thunder and lightning. To make things even more unpredictable, the weather turns colder again this weekend, with a chance of some light snowfall on Monday.

Mother Nature apparently can’t make up her mind.

On Thursday, WQAD meteorologist James Zahara said the whole Midwest has experienced a grab bag of weather this week, with blizzard conditions to the northwest of the Quad Cites and the potential for severe weather off to the southeast. Though those extremes were missed by the Quad Cities area, the entire area was still hit with a lot of rain, thunder and lightning.

“At least this weekend, we finally break the six-weekend streak of recorded snowfall with no worse than passing flurries on Saturday,” Zahara said. “But that may change later Monday with some light snowfall expected as the coldest of the air arrives early next week with highs in the teens and lows in the single digits.”

The 2013-14 winter has definitely been one for the record books, Zahara said. As of Tuesday, the Quad Cities area has received 53.3 inches of snow, tallied so far from December through Feb. 18, making this winter the snowiest winter on record. There could still be some more snowfall, he said.

“What has made this season so unique has been the constant barrage of disturbances that have been racing across Iowa and Illinois. Most have been clippers, where a few have been originating out of the southern Rockies. These snow amounts haven’t been impressive, but they have been numerous,” the meteorologist said.

The 2013-14 snowfall is even more memorable because the Quad Cities area actually had snowfall accumulations before December, Zahara said. The area received 0.4 inch of snow on Oct. 22 and 0.6 inch of snow Nov. 11. With those amounts added to the total, the area actually received a total of 54.3 inches of snow during the past five months, he said.

In addition to being one of the snowiest winters on record, the extreme cold temperatures of the past three months have made the 2013-14 season as the fifth coldest winter on record, Zahara said.

Though March is just one week away, that doesn’t mean area residents are finished with winter weather just yet, Zahara said.

“The month of March averages around 4 inches of snow, but given how active and cold it has been so far this season, the chances of inching up in the rankings looks likely. Let’s see if March comes in like a lamb,” he said.

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