NATIONAL WEATHER SUMMARY
1-6: A strong cold front brought heavy rains and severe weather to the East Coast, while also producing a strong winter storm across the Great Lakes region on Wednesday. A low pressure system shifted eastward toward the Great Lakes and flow around this system created a cold front that extended over the Eastern states. This created heavy rainfall by pulling abundant moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Rainfall totals surpassed 2 inches in parts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Heaviest rainfall was reported in Dothan, Alabama with a midday total of 2.97 inches of rain. The southeastern states were under a marginal risk of severe weather with this system, with the main threats being high wind. Multiple reports of downed tree limbs and power lines have come in from North Carolina. Meanwhile, the northern side of this system brought snow showers to the Northeast. Snowfall totals across the region ranged from 2 to 4 inches, with the heaviest snowfall reported by midday on Wednesday up to 6 inches in Dyer Brook, Maine. West of this activity, the back side of this low pressure system brought cold air in from Canada and allowed for additional snow showers to develop across Wisconsin and Michigan. Many areas received over 6 inches of snow, with the heaviest reported in Brown, Wisconsin with a midday total of 8.4 inches of snow. Out West, a trough of low pressure pushed a cold front over the West Coast, which brought some rain to the Pacific Northwest and northern California.
7-13: Remarkably quiet weather prevailed, as a ridge of high pressure deflected Pacific storminess away from the western U.S. At the same time, several disturbances traversed a trough of low pressure covering the eastern U.S., but little moisture was available to those continental storm systems. Weekly precipitation totals in excess of an inch were limited to the Pacific Northwest and the coastal Carolinas. Generally light precipitation was noted across the remainder of the nation’s northern tier, although high winds caused some blowing and drifting of snow—as well as travel disruptions in some areas. Snow briefly fell as far south as the interior Southeast, including parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. However, dry weather covered the remainder of the country, stretching from California to the central and southern Plains, the lower Mississippi Valley, and the lower Southeast. Unusually warm weather accompanied the dry conditions from California to the central and southern Plains, but cool, dry weather prevailed in the lower Southeast. For the nation as a whole, weekly temperatures ranged from at least 10F below normal in parts of the Ohio Valley, central Appalachians, and southern Mid-Atlantic States to more than 15F above normal on the northern Plains. Late in the week, some of the coldest air of the season overspread the Midwest and Northeast. Parts of the southeastern U.S. experienced at least one freeze during the week.
Early in the week, high winds accompanied light snow across the north-central U.S. On February 7, gusts were clocked to 62 mph in Bismarck, ND; 61 mph in Broken Bow, NE; and 60 mph in Huron, SD.
Warmth dominated the western U.S., resulting in dozens of daily record highs. On February 7 in northern California, highs of 80F set daily records in Redding and Red Bluff. Redding and Red Bluff also posted daily-record highs on February 8, with respective highs of 82 and 81F. In Oregon, monthly record highs were tied on February 8 in North Bend (82F) and Medford (79F). North Bend had previously achieved 82F on February 25, 1992. Similarly, Medford’s previous monthly record had been attained on February 25 and 26, 1992. With a high of 73F on the 9th, Quillayute, WA, tied a monthly record originally set on February
26, 1992. Farther south, a monthly record was also tied on February 9 in Santa Ana, CA—previously reached on February 20, 1995. San Diego, CA, reached or exceeded the 80-degree mark on 6 consecutive days from February 7-12, including a daily-record high of 86F on February 10. By mid-week, warmth expanded to the High Plains, where daily-record highs for February 10 soared to 76F in Pueblo, CO, and 62F in Livingston, MT. Meanwhile in
Arizona, Yuma posted consecutive daily record highs of 87F on February 11-12. At week’s end, another wave of warmth reached the High Plains, where Pueblo (76F on February 13), notched its second daily record high in 4 days. In stark contrast, frigid air engulfed the Northeast. Boston, MA, registered consecutive daily record lows (-4 and -9F, respectively) on February 13-14. By the morning of February 14, monthly record lows were established in
New York locations such as Watertown (-37F; previously, -36F on February 16, 2015) and Binghamton (-18F; previously, -15F on February 2, 1961, and February 17 and 18, 1979).
21-29: An area of low pressure moved across the Northeast on Monday, while a separate system formed over the Plains. A low pressure system moved northeastward across the eastern Great Lakes and New England. This system ushered a mixture of rain and snow over the northern Mid-Atlantic and New England. Saint Pamphile, Maine, reported a midday total of 6.0 inches of snow. Just to the west, a wave of low pressure brought light to moderate snow to the upper Great Lakes. A cold frontal boundary associated with this system stretched west southwestward from the Great Lakes to the upper Intermountain West. An area of low pressure formed along the tail end of this frontal boundary. As a result, mixed precipitation developed from the northern Rockies to the northern Plains. Winter weather advisories were issued for South Dakota, southwest Minnesota, Iowa, northern Indiana and Michigan. Winter storm warnings were also issued in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Rapid City, S.D., reported a midday total of 2.0 inches of snow.
A ridge of high pressure brought warm and dry weather to the Southwest. Temperatures spiked 15 to 20 degrees above normal across southern California and the Desert Southwest. Palm Springs, Calif., recorded a midday high of 87 degrees. Phoenix, Ariz., recorded a midday high of 81 degrees.
21-27: Spring-like warmth dominated the U.S., especially late in the period. Weekly temperatures averaged at least 10F above normal across portions of the northern Plains and upper Midwest. On February 27, temperatures soared to monthly record levels at several locations in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Meanwhile, California’s disappointingly dry February continued, with light precipitation limited to the state’s northwestern corner. Elsewhere in the West, generally light precipitation fell from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, but snow blanketed the southern Rockies. Across the remainder of the country, mild, mostly dry weather covered the northern and central Plains and the upper Midwest. The week opened with warmth in the Southwest that soon spread eastward. In Arizona, daily record highs for February 21 climbed to 86F in Phoenix and 82F in Tucson. Two days later, record setting highs for February 23 in southern Texas reached 93F in Harlingen and 92F in Brownsville. At mid-week, warmth briefly surged northward along the Atlantic Seaboard. Bridgeport, CT, notched a daily-record high of 60F on February 24. Record-setting highs for February 25 reached 63F in Concord, NH, and 54F in Houlton, ME. Toward week’s end, cool air settled into the East, while warmth rapidly expanded across the western and central U.S. By February 25, Northwestern daily-record highs rose to 72F in Roseburg, OR, and 70F in Quillayute, WA. At the height of the late-February warm spell, monthly record highs were broken on February 27 in locations such as Kennebec, SD (76F; previously, 75F on February 21, 2000); Bismarck, ND (73F; previously, 69F on February 29, 1932); and St. Cloud, MN (59F; previously, 58F on February 27, 1932). With a high of 73F on the 27th, Sioux City, IA, experienced its warmest February day since 1896.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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