Very warm winter statewide was gift from La Nina

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The winter just ended was warmer than usual all across Tennessee.

Forecasters use the meteorological stretch of December-February rather than the astrological period between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox to denote the season.

It was the mildest winter in Nashville in 40 years, averaging 4.3 degrees above normal.

The National Weather Service reported the winter was 4.5 degrees above normal in Memphis. Knoxville and Chattanooga both ended the season at an average 4.4 degrees above normal while the Tri-Cities had a relatively balmy 4.6-degree deviation to the plus side.

NWS forecaster Bobby Boyd in Nashville said the La Nina condition of surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean was part of the reason. Another was positive Arctic oscillation, which kept polar air bottled up well north of Tennessee.

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