TODAY   |  March 19, 2014

Was this winter really one of the worst ever?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this winter was hardly the coldest the nation’s seen: It only ranked as the 34th-coldest for the lower 48 states. TODAY’s Al Roker reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> well, millions of us are thankful that the last day of winter has finally arrived. felt like one of the worst winters in -- i think as long as i can remember.

>> well, here's the deal. spring comes tomorrow morning , tomorrow afternoon, 12:57 . so we're going to look back and say good riddance to what winter was.

>> it was the winter that seemed like it would never end.

>> 49 states below the freezing mark today.

>> and introduced us to too much reviled words.

>> polar vortex .

>> polar vortex .

>> storm after storm after storm, 23 named by the weather channel so far slamming cities like ann arbor , michigan, toledo, ohio, and ft. wayne, indiana with the snowiest winter seasons on record. chicago, the third snowiest, philadelphia, the second. several inches of ice and snow crippling atlanta with bitter temperatures reaching the south. even in green bay , january and february, the second coldest in nearly 70 years.

>> i have never experienced cold like this in my life.

>> reporter: not up in the air, more than 103,000 flights canceled since december 1st according to, 25,000 more than the past two winters combined. on the roads, potholes.

>> cost me $600 to fix my rim.

>> reporter: and pile-ups, budgets busted with triple the amount of salt from last year. water turning to ice jamming up new york's hudson.

>> look at this ice. in some places, it's more than a foot thick. i've got to tell you, it's going to be rough.

>> reporter: and freezing over 91% of the great lakes, the most since 1979 . heating costs skyrocketing with experts estimating the cold could cost $5 billion in lost productivity. but would you believe this wasn't the coldest we've ever seen? in fact, according to noaa this doesn't even crack the top ten, only ranking 34th coldest for the lower 34 states. the reason, the west where drought has dried up the land.

>> that's one of the worst years i've seen. yeah, in many years.

>> and california actually seeing its warmest winter on record. little solace for everyone else this winter left frozen hoping old man winter will let it go.

>> okay. so the good news is, even though it wasn't the coldest winter ever, thanks to you guys, it was the whiniest.

>> perfect. great. we're proud.

>> the irony of watching that while we freeze.

>> case in point.

>> and reflecting what people are saying.

>> okay. are you guys whining?

>> are you cold right now?

>> they're cold, they're just not whining about it. that's what's going on around the country, here's what's happening in your