Boustead uses daily high and low temperatures and daily and accumulated snowfall to come up with a winter index that’s equivalent to the way meteorologists categorize hurricanes and tornadoes. Officially, it is called the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index.
“I personally would call this a misery index,” said Boustead.
But to co-creator Steve Hilberg, the index measures “awesomeness.”
“I embrace winter rather than hating it,” said Hilberg, a meteorologist who works at the Midwest Regional Climate Center in Champaign, Ill.
New York, Milwaukee and Duluth are in the midst of their fourth harshest winters. Also having top-10 harshest winters are Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota; Louisville, Ky.; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Cheyenne, Wyo.
The idea is to put winter in context. This winter seems unusually harsh because it has been a while since the late 1970s and early 1980s when severe winters were far more frequent. People have short memories.
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