Isobar discusses the weather 03.02.2011

Written by David Green.


Rain, freezing rain, ice pellets, snow grains, blizzard, fog, wicked winds, even a thunderstorm—we had it all last month.

“It really was an exciting month, weatherwise,” said local weather observer George Isobar. “It was a lot more interesting than most months.”

February was known as the big snow month until it all melted away. Then it became the big ice month.

“And that thunderstorm at the end,” Isobar said. “I couldn’t figure why I kept seeing lights flashing—until I heard the thunder.”

But let’s stick with the snow, he said, because this February was the snowiest that’s been recorded in the past 35 years of local record-keeping.

“February is becoming our snowy month,” Isobar said. “We had 22.9 inches this year and 19.7 inches last year. In 2008 we had 21.3.”

Toledo received 26 inches last month and that now stands as the snowiest February on record (since 1873), surpassing the previous mark set in 1900.

Detroit’s snowfall moved into second place with 31.7 inches, still trailing the 1908 record of 38.4 inches. Four of Detroit’s top-10 snowiest Februaries have occurred since 2003.

“Here’s an unusual fact for you,” Isobar said. “There were only four days last month without measurable snow on the ground. The other days had at least two inches and on a couple of days, 15 inches.”

When Isobar does his annual weather review next January and lists the Slickest Month, February will likely take that crown, as well as Snowiest. There were three days with a glaze of ice in addition to the big ice storm Feb. 21.

In addition to a pair of good snowfalls, there was also some in between precipitation that took the form of ice pellets and snow grains.

Add in the rain before the ice storm and the heavy rain Sunday night and the total precipitation came in at 4.09 inches. That’s almost two inches above average, Isobar said, and the third wettest February in at least the last 35 years.

“February gave us a pretty good temperature range, also,” he said. “The high of 53° was recorded Feb. 17 and the low of -15° came Feb. 10. We had three below-zero mornings.”

The average temperature for the month in Toledo was 1.9° below normal.

To finish off the weather-laden month, Isobar points out that it was fairly windy, too, with gusts in the 40-m.p.h. range recorded in Toledo on five days, along with three others in the 30s.

MARCH—“Maybe things will even out some this month,” Isobar said, “although March is on the brink of spring and there’s usually quite a range of temperatures.

“Everybody wants the snow to end, but we average a total of about six inches in March. We’ve had several six-inch snowfalls in March and even a 9.6-inch storm in 1993.”

On the bright side, he said, we usually record a temperature at least in the 60s, if not in the 70s—along with a hefty dose of single-digit leftovers.

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