February weather report

Written by David Green.

So the wintry weather seemed a little on the extreme side in February, but how odd was it really?

Morenci climate observer George Isobar probably has the answer.

“Was February extreme? How about yes and no? It was definitely unusual in the snowfall department,” he said.

In Toledo, where long-term records are kept, 23.6 inches of snow was measured last month making it the second snowiest on record.

“It was the snowiest February in just about a century,” Isobar said. “The most ever recorded was in 1900 at 25.1 inches. The top four are from 1912 and earlier, but the former number five was a lot more recent when 18.8 inches fell in 2003.”

“You know,” Isobar said, “you have to keep our deep snow in perspective. We had one of our snowiest months in Morenci with about 23 inches. Last year in the Marquette area, 24 inches fell in one day—and that was in April.”

The bulk of the snow extremes are from many years ago, he said, both for the snowiest and the least snowiest. Only four of the top 10 least snowy Februarys occurred in the last 20 years.

“And that’s just February” he said. “When you look at the figures for the entire winter season, just two of the snowiest were recorded in this decade.”

In the least snow category, almost everything on the top-10 list is from 1953 and earlier.

So it was plenty snowy last month.  That’s established, but wasn’t it rather cold, also?

“The month came out 2.1° below the norm,” Isobar said, “but that’s not so much. The mean temperature for the month was 24.9° and that’s a long way from making the top 10.”

A year ago the mean for February came in as the sixth coldest on record, quite a change from several recent extra warm months.

An extra snowy month suggests an extra wet month overall, and Isobar said last month was the second highest in melted precipitation since 1990. That year holds the record for all years since data was first saved here in 1975.


  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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