February 2021 was 1.1 degrees colder than average, and the eighth snowiest February on record, with 26.0” measured. More than half of the snow fell on Feb. 1, when 14.8” piled up (in total, the storm produced 17.4”). This was the largest accumulation ever reported on the first day of February. Another highlight of the month was the severe Arctic outbreak in the middle of the month that plunged Texas, the southern Plains, Midwest and Ohio Valley into the deep-freeze, but barely brushed New York. Although the month was colder than average, the coldest reading was just 17° (the month's only reading in the teens). The month's colder than average status was driven by the average high, which was 2.7 degrees colder than average; meanwhile, the average low was slightly above average (+0.5 degree). Finally, with 5.13" of precipitation, the month was among the ten wettest Februarys since 1930 (and 21st wettest going back to 1869).
This was New York's coldest February since 2015 and the first colder-than-average month since May 2020. It was also the first year since 2015 in which neither January or February had any readings of 60° or milder. The 15-day period between Feb. 7 and 21 was five degrees colder than average (high/low of 35°/25°), with all but one of the days colder than average (10.2" of snow fell during this period). Temperatures rebounded during the last six days of the month, and were six degrees milder than average (high/low of 48°/38°); temperatures were above freezing for the entire period.
Like January, there was just a 37-degree range between February's coldest and mildest readings (17° and 54° in February, 14° and 51° in January). Since 1950, the typical range has been 49 degrees (11° and 60°); during these year just six other Februarys have had a smaller range, most recently in 2010 (29 degrees). Meanwhile, the month's average diurnal variation (the difference between the high and low temperature) was just 9.5 degrees (February's average is 13.5 degrees), making it just the fourth February with a diurnal variation less than 10 degrees. (The others were in 2010, 1969 and 1869.) This was only the second Jan./Feb. in which both months had diurnal variations less than ten degrees. (The other time it happened was in 1869.) Jan./Feb. 2021’s diurnal variation of 9.7 degrees beat out 1869's by 0.1 degree for smallest variation.
This winter’s December-February combo was the ninth snowiest on record. It joined four other pairs from this century (the other five happened before the winter of 1962).
February 2021 joined sixteen other Februarys that had 20 inches or more of snow. It was milder than all but two of them (February 1983 and 2006).
Looking at December thru March, February 2021 ranks as the fifteenth snowiest month, just 0.1" behind Feb. 2003, Jan. 1996 and Feb. 1894. This February's hefty snow accumulation was quite a contrast to last February, which saw just a trace.
Here are other February recaps: