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.