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The Great February 2017 Heat Waves east of the Rockies

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#1
wx_statman

Posted 16 September 2017 - 11:15 PM

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Numerous monthly record highs were set east of the Rockies in both the US and Canada during February 2017. In this post, I'm going to run things down from the perspective of state-wide monthly records. It's a bit of a macro approach but I think it highlights the incredible nature of this series of winter heat waves. I've only included states that came within 3F (or less) of the possible state record high for February. 

 

In total, 7 different states *possibly* set or tied new record maximums for February. 

 

Monthly records are not official. Data pulled from Infoplease tables (https://www.infoplea...rature-extremes) which haven't been updated since 2004 and contain numerous old, unreliable readings from COOP stations. 

 

Format:

-State

-February 2017 maximum

-Given monthly record in Infoplease tables

-Possible new records/ties are bolded

 

 

Colorado

87 on 2/11 @ Cheraw

90 in 1904 @ Blaine

 

Connecticut

75 on 2/25 @ Burlington

77 in 1954 @ Danbury

 

Florida

93 on 2/19 @ Royal Palm RS

94 in 1962 @ Avon Park

 

Georgia

91 on 2/14 @ Chickamauga

90 in 1918 @ Glennville

 

Iowa

79 on 2/22 @ Ottumwa

82 in 1972 @ Sidney

 

Kansas

90 on 2/11 @ 4 different stations

92 in 1981 @ Aetna

 

Massachusetts

76 on 2/25 @ Reading

76 in 1985 @ Chester

 

Michigan

70 on 2/24 & 2/25 @ 7 different stations

72 in 1999 @ Battle Creek

 

Minnesota

70 on 2/19 @ Minneapolis - Crystal Airport

73 in 1896 @ Pleasant Mounds

 

Nebraska

83 on 2/22 @ Beaver City

85 in 1891 @ "Uknown"

 

New Hampshire

73 on 2/25 @ Nashua

72 in 1997 @ Greenland

 

New Jersey

77 on 2/25 @ Freehold-Marlboro & New Brunswick

80 in 1930 @ Pleasantville

 

New York

77 on 2/25 @ Dansville

78 in 1985 @ Millbrook

 

Ohio

80 on 2/25 @ Newport

81 in 1930 @ Middleport

 

Oklahoma

99 on 2/11 @ Mangum 5SE

99 in 1918 @ Arapaho

 

Rhode Island

73 on 2/25 @ Woonsocket

72 in 1985 @ Providence

 

South Dakota

77 on 2/21 & 2/22 @ Ft. Pierre 17WSW & Winner

79 in 1896 at Vermillion

 

Tennessee

84 on 2/21 & 2/25 @ Woodbury & Cheatham

85 in 1996 @ Gatlinburg

 

Texas

103 on 2/24 & 2/25 @ Falcon Dam & Rio Grande City

104 in 1902 @ Fort Ringgold

 

Vermont

72 on 2/25 @ Burlington

68 in 1957 @ Bennington

 

West Virginia

83 on 2/25 @ Logan

86 in 1932 @ Moorefield

 

Wisconsin

72 on 2/23 @ 4 different stations (Ft. Atkinson, Lodi, Hales Corners, South Milwaukee)

69 in 2000 @ Afton, Beloit & Broadhead


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#2
Phil

Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:39 AM

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I remember at least three heat spikes..was the one of the warmest winter months I can remember. We topped out at 76*F one afternoon and stayed above 70*F well into the night with a roaring south wind.
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#3
weatherfan2012

Posted 17 September 2017 - 03:53 AM

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I remember at least three heat spikes..was the one of the warmest winter months I can remember. We topped out at 76*F one afternoon and stayed above 70*F well into the night with a roaring south wind.

yeah last winter was tottel crap.you know it bad when you have 70 or above temperatures at night doing the winter

#4
Guest_happ_*

Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:59 AM

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Were any of the readings affected by down slope winds?



#5
Mr Marine Layer

Posted 17 September 2017 - 10:08 AM

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This is not a West Coast topic. That's some warm/hot February weather though.



#6
wx_statman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 10:17 AM

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This is not a West Coast topic. That's some warm/hot February weather though.

 

I'm a West Coast poster.  B)


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#7
wx_statman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 10:20 AM

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Were any of the readings affected by down slope winds?

 

I'm sure some were. There's definitely enough topography in the Appalachians. High Plains heat waves during the cold season can be influenced by downslope flow off the Rockies as well, an extended Chinook wind if you will. 



#8
Phil

Posted 17 September 2017 - 10:29 AM

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Were any of the readings affected by down slope winds?


Here? Yes, happens all the time with westerly winds off the Appalachian mountains. They insulate us from severe Arctic airmasses (and snow, lol), and they deepen the mixing layer which produces relatively frequent high wind events from the W/NW. The winter windstorms are an aspect of this climate that few are aware of.
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#9
BLI snowman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 10:31 AM

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Still paying back for February 2015 back there.


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#10
Phil

Posted 17 September 2017 - 10:35 AM

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Still paying back for February 2015 back there.


Yeah, that was the second craziest weather month I've experienced (nothing will beat February 2010).

This winter's blowtorch here should complete the payback, though..that would make 3 consecutive torches, and they usually do come in sets of three for whatever reason.
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#11
BLI snowman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 12:23 PM

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Yeah, that was the second craziest weather month I've experienced (nothing will beat February 2010).

This winter's blowtorch here should complete the payback, though..that would make 3 consecutive torches, and they usually do come in sets of three for whatever reason.

 

I have a feeling it'll be a little better for the East than you're expecting. The last two being so torchy back there make me think you're due.


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#12
Phil

Posted 17 September 2017 - 07:22 PM

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I have a feeling it'll be a little better for the East than you're expecting. The last two being so torchy back there make me think you're due.


I hope you're right, but I'd still rather be you this winter. Storm track is always the most important variable for snowfall here, so I'd be more optimistic if I lived in up in New England or something. Easy to be screwed by the jet here, even during very cold winters.

I like your odds much better than mine. You almost always have precipitation, it's just a question of temperature.
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#13
Scott

Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:15 PM

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Colorado

87 on 2/11 @ Cheraw

90 in 1904 @ Blaine

 

 

I remember looking into the 1904 90 reading at Blaine, but I don't know if it's valid.  


At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   11.01 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   38.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   10/6


#14
BLI snowman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:18 PM

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I hope you're right, but I'd still rather be you this winter. Storm track is always the most important variable for snowfall here, so I'd be more optimistic if I lived in up in New England or something. Easy to be screwed by the jet here, even during very cold winters.

I like your odds much better than mine. You almost always have precipitation, it's just a question of temperature.


Yeah, established Ninas always seem to feature one month of torching out there, usually February. I think you guys might finally see a decent December then flip after that.

Here OTOH, I'm counting on this year being milder than last by a decent margin.

#15
DareDuck

Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:58 PM

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.

Here OTOH, I'm counting on this year being milder than last by a decent margin.


Last winter was the snowiest winter in 24 years for central OR. Pretty much guaranteed to have less snow this year at least out this way.

Bend, OR

Elevation: 3550'

 

Snow History:

Nov: 1"

Dec: .5"

Jan: 1.9"

Feb: 12.7"

Mar: 1.0"

Total: 17.1"

 

2016/2017: 70"

2015/2016: 34"

Average: ~25"

 

2017/2018 Winter Temps

Lowest Min: 1F on 2/23

Lowest Max: 23F on 12/24, 2/22

Lows <32: 87

Highs <32: 13

 


#16
epiceast

Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:05 PM

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Last winter was the snowiest winter in 24 years for central OR. Pretty much guaranteed to have less snow this year at least out this way.

back to back above average snowy winters? How do I order that?!



#17
wx_statman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:11 PM

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I remember looking into the 1904 90 reading at Blaine, but I don't know if it's valid.  

 

February 1904 appears to be a legitimately torchy month in Colorado. The state climate report for the month lists a +7.8 departure statewide.

 

The Blaine reading really sticks out though. It supposedly reached 90 on the 28th, while no other station in CO was above 78 that day. Most likely another bogus old reading from a COOP that wasn't recording using standard practices.


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#18
BLI snowman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:39 PM

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Last winter was the snowiest winter in 24 years for central OR. Pretty much guaranteed to have less snow this year at least out this way.


Sometimes they come in tandems, but for Bend you're probably going to have to be happy with less.

#19
BLI snowman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:41 PM

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February 1904 appears to be a legitimately torchy month in Colorado. The state climate report for the month lists a +7.8 departure statewide.

The Blaine reading really sticks out though. It supposedly reached 90 on the 28th, while no other station in CO was above 78 that day. Most likely another bogus old reading from a COOP that wasn't recording using standard practices.


Strong Nina that year with a lot of cool and wet onshore flow in the PNW that month, and not much mid latitude blocking. Pretty similar pattern to 2017, in other words.

#20
wx_statman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 10:47 PM

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Strong Nina that year with a lot of cool and wet onshore flow in the PNW that month, and not much mid latitude blocking. Pretty similar pattern to 2017, in other words.

 

I noticed that almost every previous record year from my opening post was -ENSO. Very strong connection to torching east of the Rockies in February. 



#21
BLI snowman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 11:12 PM

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I noticed that almost every previous record year from my opening post was -ENSO. Very strong connection to torching east of the Rockies in February. 

 

Yep, just like how a February torch here in positive ENSO is something of a given.



#22
wx_statman

Posted 17 September 2017 - 11:28 PM

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Yep, just like how a February torch here in positive ENSO is something of a given.

 

I'm always amazed by persistent tendencies like that. So much chaos in the system but it finds a way to repeat over and over. 


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#23
Front Ranger

Posted 18 September 2017 - 08:32 AM

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Yep, just like how a February torch here in positive ENSO is something of a given.

 

Notable exceptions being: 1952, 1964, 1969, 1973, 2003, and 2005.

 

I would say with moderate/strong events, it's just about a given.


Cool anomalies soothe the soul.


#24
DareDuck

Posted 18 September 2017 - 09:43 AM

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Sometimes they come in tandems, but for Bend you're probably going to have to be happy with less.


Indeed. All signs could come together and point to an epic winter for the PNW but I'd still bet I get less snow than last year.

Bend, OR

Elevation: 3550'

 

Snow History:

Nov: 1"

Dec: .5"

Jan: 1.9"

Feb: 12.7"

Mar: 1.0"

Total: 17.1"

 

2016/2017: 70"

2015/2016: 34"

Average: ~25"

 

2017/2018 Winter Temps

Lowest Min: 1F on 2/23

Lowest Max: 23F on 12/24, 2/22

Lows <32: 87

Highs <32: 13

 


#25
Phil

Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:28 AM

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Notable exceptions being: 1952, 1964, 1969, 1973, 2003, and 2005.

I would say with moderate/strong events, it's just about a given.


Yeah, weaker ENSOs can be trumped by intraseasonal variability. Both 2012/13 and 2013/14 were -ENSO and frigid east of the Rockies in February.
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#26
wx_statman

Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:51 AM

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Notable exceptions being: 1952, 1964, 1969, 1973, 2003, and 2005.

 

I would say with moderate/strong events, it's just about a given.

 

It's also relative. In winters like 1951-52, 1968-69, 1972-73, and 2004-05 all of the action was concentrated in Dec or Jan in typical El Nino fashion. February looked lame in comparison even though it might not have been an all-out torch. 



#27
BLI snowman

Posted 18 September 2017 - 11:00 AM

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It's also relative. In winters like 1951-52, 1968-69, 1972-73, and 2004-05 all of the action was concentrated in Dec or Jan in typical El Nino fashion. February looked lame in comparison even though it might not have been an all-out torch. 

 

Yeah, February 1952 was the only one of that bunch that  featured much in the way of actual longwave troughing in the PNW, and 1951-52 was a very weak El Nino with deeply -PDO/-PNA so it was a favorable state for us.


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#28
Guest_happ_*

Posted 22 September 2017 - 10:34 AM

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Here? Yes, happens all the time with westerly winds off the Appalachian mountains. They insulate us from severe Arctic airmasses (and snow, lol), and they deepen the mixing layer which produces relatively frequent high wind events from the W/NW. The winter windstorms are an aspect of this climate that few are aware of.

 

Phil, can you or anyone else identify stations that reflect westerly winds off Appalachians? Thanks



#29
Phil

Posted 22 September 2017 - 11:40 AM

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Phil, can you or anyone else identify stations that reflect westerly winds off Appalachians? Thanks


Stations like MRB (Martinsburg Airport) get the strongest downsloping winds, however all of the stations here (even DCA) see strong west/northwesterly windstorms and warm/dry atmospheric profiles at times during winter/spring. It's a cornerstone of this climate, really. DCA and IAD have both surpassed 65mph at least once since March of 2016.

Wintergreen hit 115mph last February, and several stations in the DC area gusted between 70-80mph. Cars were actually blown out of their parking spots at Montgomery Mall during that event, and around here the winds were shaking the parked cars so violently that it set their alarms off. There were at least a dozen car alarms going off after every gust between 8PM and 1AM. Will always have fond memories of that one. 😂
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