(Update two: Thanks to Tamino for the correction. Boston’s mean was warmer and Hartford’s colder than I had originally. I have updated the numbers. See bottom of post for first update.)
As the map above shows, NOAA seems to have struggled in creating a temperature map that accurately conveys what New Englanders recently experienced: a frigid February. Hartford was 5.5 degrees below normal for the month; Boston was 2.7 degrees below normal. Providence was 3.5 degrees below normal for the month. And yet all three locations fall within the “near normal” portion of NOAA’s map. What’s up with that?
How well did NOAA do representing February temperatures where you live?
UPDATE: NWS Taunton responded to a query from me about this as follows:
“My guess is that this web site defines near normal for any site with temps + or – 5 degs from climo. Hope this helps.”
I’ve gone back asking that Taunton ask NOAA’s home office for a definition of normal and will update when and if I hear back. The tables below are from the National Weather Service Taunton.
It would be helpful if NOAA and the NWS bureaus were on the same page for the meaning of climatological normal, and if baselines were rationalized. As it stands, the two, though part of one bureaucratic entity, are not on the same page and should expect misperceptions among the public to be the rule until such time as they agree on terms.