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Ready, Set, Thaw - Spring is Here


Spring is here. And if your toes are still blue from the frigid winter, you might have a tough time believing this but the National Weather Service says the icy-fingered grip of the past few months wasn’t all that bad.

Between the wind and the chill the winter gone by might have seem annoying but Barbara Mayes, with the National Weather Service, said, "Here in Omaha, we have not had it that bad. We're right on the edge between an average and slightly severe winter."

Barbara is one of those people who backs-up her comments with facts. Her work at the Weather Service in Valley is gaining a lot of attention. Mapping decades of work, Mayes and another meteorologist created the Accumulated Winter Seasons Severity Index, “the AWSSI, for short,” she said.

It's a historical map tracking snow and temps. The work landed Mayes in the national news this winter.

You might have heard of the map referred to as the Misery Index. That's because when Atlanta and Chicago were looking like Greenland, the AWSSI proved what many speculated: it was the worst winter ever.

But Barbara said Omaha did not have it that bad.

Her review is getting mixed reviews. We talked to one person who said, “It wasn’t so bad,” and another who told us, “They like the cold? Ugh. They’re nuts.”

One word of warning: if you’re in the Ugh, They’re Nuts camp, don’t break out the shorts just yet. Winter has a way of getting in a few parting shots in the metro.

Mayes and her partner have waded through enough data to show all winters dating back to 1950. They're hoping to wade even deeper beginning this spring. By the way, if you're wondering when the worst winter was, it was 1959 to 1960.


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