Cloudy With A Chance of Hockey

Now that December has arrived, fans in both Washington and Pittsburgh lucky enough to find themselves in possession of 2011 Winter Classic tickets are preparing for their New Year’s day. Where to spend New Year’s Eve? What to do in Pittsburgh? When to get to the stadium? How often to boo Crosby? Where to go afterwards? What to wear?

But as with all previous Winter Classic venues, weather will most likely prove to be the most important factor. How cold (or warm) will it be? Will there be precipitation? If so, what kind? Will it be windy? What’s the ice going to be like? Taking a look at historical weather data might give us an idea of what to expect at Heinz Field. Unfortunately, ‘Historical Weather Data’ is not something I’m well versed on.

Fortunately enough, my good friend (and fellow hockey player/fanatic) Scott of the always schizophrenic entertaining blog ‘You Can Take The Boy Out Of Dundalk’ happens to have a crush on all things meteorological. He’s my personal Weatherman.

Scott, let’s go to the Doppler!!!

These number’s are from the National Weather Service, so I’d feel safe using them as a benchmark:

Record High for January: 75 degrees 1/25/1950
Record Low for January: -22 degrees 1/19/1994 (recent)

These following apply to Jan 2010 only:
The warmest day of Jan 2010 was 51 degrees (1/23/10)
The coldest day of Jan 2010 was 2 degrees (1/17/10)
Avg high: 31.9
Avg low: 19.8
Avg mean temp: 25.9
Greatest 24 hour precip total: 1.44 inches 1/24-1/25/10
Avg snow depth 2 inches
Days with >= a trace of precip: 18
Days with >= 1 inch of precip: 6
Avg Windspeed 8.2 mph
Highest WindSpeed: 30mph West/Northwest (1/28)—-off Lake Erie
Highest Gust: 37mph   West/Northwest        (1/28)—-also off Lake Erie
Avg Relative Humidity: 71%

The following apply to Jan 2009 only:
The warmest day of Jan 2009 was 50 degrees
The coldest day of Jan 2009 was -10 degrees
Avg high: 29.1
Avg low: 14.9
Avg mean temp: 22
Avg snow depth 2 inches

Taking those numbers, plus the fact that this year is the beginning of a La Nina climate cycle, means average temperatures and slightly above average precipitation for that area. I’m also taking into account the recent storm activity and lake effect snows which have been really cranking over the last few weeks.   

I’m going to call for high temperatures slightly below freezing, with a stiff wind from the NW (10-12mph).  For the game, more clouds than sun, chance of some sort of frozen precipitation, 60%.

So there you have it folks. Based on Scott’s forecast, you should layer (with your Caps jersey on the outside, of course), get a nice hot beverage and a Primanti Bros. sandwich and enjoy the game.