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Weather Talk: Averages are terribly misunderstood

The average has a problem. It is terribly misunderstood. Weather is full of averages. We have our average highs and lows, our average snowfalls and rainfalls. We have average wind, average sunshine, even an average first 80 degree day of the year...

The average has a problem. It is terribly misunderstood. Weather is full of averages. We have our average highs and lows, our average snowfalls and rainfalls. We have average wind, average sunshine, even an average first 80 degree day of the year.

The problem is, many people have the idea that these averages represent what the weather should be doing, which is not it at all.

Weather in general, and our climate in particular, is prone to extremes. It is almost always hotter, colder, wetter, or drier than average. Average is the average of all the extremes. When we get a late spring cold snap like the past few days, the weather is actually doing what is has always done, which is being not average.

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