February 2022 Weather Recap: Minimal Snow, Wide Variation in Average High & Low
Last winter, February had much more snow than January (26.0" vs. 2.1"), but this winter the tables were turned as February had just 2.0" compared to January's 15.3". Although snowfall was minimal, there have been 31 other winters with even less snow in February (and two-thirds of those had less than an inch).
Temperature patterns were also reversed, as February of last year was 1.7° below average and January was 1.1° above, while this winter February was 1.4° above average and January was 3.4° below. Feb. 2022 was the 21st mildest on record. Five recent Februarys in 2020, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2012, were milder.
Another very big difference between Feb. 2022 and 2021 was in its diurnal variation, i.e., the difference between the daily high and low temperature. Last February's was just 9.5 degrees, which tied for the second smallest reported in February. This year's however, was 16.9 degrees, which was the widest variation in February since 1990, and the third widest for any February (average variation is 12.7 degrees). Part of the reason was that it had three days with temperature variations of 30 degrees or more; only February 1918 has had more (four).
The difference between the average high and low of Feb. 2022 and 2021 is fascinating, as this February's average high was 6.9 degrees milder than last February, but its average low was 0.5 degrees chillier.
February's above average temperature was driven by the average high, which was 3.5 degrees above average; by contrast, the average low was 0.6 degrees below average. Eight days had highs of 55° or milder, with four of them above 60°, including two climbing to 68° (on 2/17 and 2/23). The first 68° was a record for the date.
Looking at cold conditions, eight days had highs in the 30s or colder, and four of these days had highs of 32° or colder. Similar to the month's warmest reading, the coldest reading (16°) was also reported on two days, 2/14 and 2/15. (January's coldest reading also occurred on back to back days).
Eleven days were 10 degrees or more above or below average (seven were above, four were below). The most above average was +23 degrees on 2/17, when the high/low was 68°/49°; the most below average day came three days before that, with a high/low that was 15 degrees below average (25°/16°).
During the three weeks between Feb. 4-24, four dramatic swings in temperature occurred:
- Feb. 4-5: From 8° above average (high/low of 57°/26°), to 11° below average (27°/19°)
- Feb. 12-14: From 16° above average (59°/42°), to 1° below average (42°/25°), to 15° below average (25°/16°)
- Feb. 15-17: From 13° below average (30°/16°), to 3° above average (49°/28°), to 23° above average (68°/49°)
- Feb. 23-24: From 15° above average (68°/35°), to 6° below average (35°/29°)
Finally, precipitation was very close to average, with 3.23" measured (vs. an average of 3.19"). The days with the most precipitation were Feb. 3 and Feb. 20, with 0.72" and 0.74", respectively. The month's measurable snow fell on two days: 2/13 (1.6") and 2/25 (0.4"). Of the Februarys with two inches of snow or less, Feb. 2022 had the fourth biggest drop-off from January.
Here are other February recaps:
10.03” of precipitation fell in Nov-Feb combined this season (which was the same amount of precipitation that Sep. 2021 alone had), making this the driest Nov-Feb combination since 2002 (when 6.24” fell), the eighth driest Nov-Feb combo since 1950, and the nineteenth driest Nov-Feb combo ever. on average, a little under fifteen inches of precipitation falls in the combined months from Nov. to Feb.
Posted by: William | 03/03/2022 at 05:03 PM
During the first major temperature swing mentioned above, the temperature dropped from 57 to 39 degrees during the 7-8 AM hour on February 4, when the wind shifted to the north in the later part of a rainstorm. Last year, at 4-5 PM on July 6, a thunderstorm dropped the temperature from 92 to 71 degrees. How common are these hourly temperature swings of at least 15 degrees or more?
Posted by: Henry | 06/27/2022 at 09:26 AM
Not too common. It usually takes multiple hours for temperature drops of that magnitude.
Posted by: Rob | 06/27/2022 at 01:12 PM