How Cold are We Compared to Last Winter?

February 16th, 2015 by Tevis Propane

By this point in the season, many of us speculate how the current winter compares to previous winters.  For most people, their comparison is based on a particular memory, snow totals, or their heating bill.  Makes sense.  But when your business depends on predicting how much heating oil a customer’s home will consume in a season, we have to base it on an actual standard.  The standard the heating industry uses is a “degree day.”

What are degree days?  It’s easier to understand than it is to explain.  Let’s start with the assumption that most people don’t heat their homes unless the average temperature for the day is below 65 degrees F.  Given that threshold, the degree days for any given day is the number of degrees below 65 the average temperature actually was.   For example, if yesterday’s average temperature was 10 degrees, which unfortunately it was, yesterday’s degree days were 55.  (65 – 10 = 55)

So, how DOES this winter compare to last winter?  Based on degree days, this season (as of Jan 31, 2015) has been slightly less cold than last season.  From Oct 1 2014 – Jan 31 2015, there have been 3,139 degree days, whereas in the same period last winter 2013-2014, there were 3,242 degree days.  However, both are colder than the 2012-2013 season, when there were 3,016 degree days.  The only month this season that has been colder overall than last season was November 2014, when the degree days were 756 as compared to 711 in 2013.  Remember, we got snow the day before Thanksgiving?  Sometimes the weather on Thanksgiving Day in Maryland is relatively mild, but it was cold this season!

Tevis Propane is locally owned and operated in Maryland, and delivers propane to Baltimore County, Carroll County, Howard County, and Adams and York Counties in PA.  For propane oil delivery, call 410-239-3900!

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