28 February 2017
Meteorological Winter Ends With Record Warmth and Storms
Posted by Dan Satterfield
It has been an amazing if not astonishing February across the U.S. Very little snow and record highs falling by the thousands! So far in February, we have recorded 5857 record highs and only 97 record lows. There were 408 stations that had the warmest temperature on record for any day in February and only one station saw the coldest temp. on record for February!
Look at the monthly temperature rankings from the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s climate tool. A “1” means it was the warmest February to date on record. The warmth today might take a few stations that are second warmest and move them to number one.
In Chicago, a Tornado Watch posted for areas just to the south, and for the first time on the climate record, there was no snow on the ground in January or February! Records go back 133 years in Chicago, and they only saw a total of 0.6 inches of snow during January, and that quickly melted off. A rare moderate risk of severe weather was issued for Illinois, and parts of Indiana and Missouri today. These are rare in the warm season but in February?
It’s worth noting that we cannot blame this specific warm month on climate change, but it certainly has increased the odds of having a record warm month. I wrote earlier this month about January’s global temperature being among the hottest recorded. This happened during a weak La Nina event when the Pacific Ocean is cooler than normal. To have one of the hottest months globally during a La Nina is a strong indicator that the planet has been rapidly warming.
Meanwhile along the West Coast, we have had an unusually cold and rainy February (the narrow blue strip on the map).