National #Climate Report – February 2022 — NOAA

Click the link to read the report on the NOAA website:

National Overview

February Highlights

February Temperature

  • The average contiguous U.S. temperature during February was 33.8°F, 0.1°F below the 20th-century average, ranking in the middle third of the 128-year period of record.
  • Temperatures were below average across portions of the Upper Mississippi Valley as well as from the central Rockies to the Gulf Coast. Temperatures were above average across portions of the West Coast and from the Southeast to New England.
  • The Alaska statewide February temperature was 8.6°F, 3.8°F above the long-term average. This ranked among the middle one-third of the 98-year period of record for the state.
    • Temperatures were below average across parts of the North Slope while above-average temperatures were observed across the southern third of the state. King Salmon ranked fifth-warmest while Anchorage and Kodiak each had their sixth-warmest February on record.
    • Bering Sea ice extent in February was the highest value observed since 2013, but fell rapidly the last 10 days of the month and was slightly below the 1991-2020 median by March 2.
  • The contiguous U.S. average maximum (daytime) temperature during February was 46.3°F, 1.5°F above the 20th-century average, ranking in the middle third of the historical record. Above-average maximum temperatures were observed across parts of the West, northern and central Plains and from Florida to New England. Below-average daytime temperatures occurred across portions of the Rockies, South and Great Lakes. California ranked 10th warmest on record for maximum temperature.
  • The contiguous U.S. average minimum (nighttime) temperature during February was 21.2°F, 1.6°F below the 20th-century average, ranking in the coldest third of the record. Above-average minimum temperatures were observed across portions of the East Coast. Below-average minimum temperatures dominated across much of the West, Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes. Texas ranked 11th coldest for nighttime temperatures during February.
  • As of March 8, there were 3,165 record warm daily high (1,867) and low (1,298) temperature records in February, which was about 65 percent of the 4,870 record cold daily high (2,423) and low (2,447) temperature records observed during February.
  • Based on NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during February was 20 percent below average and the 39th-lowest value in the 128-year period of record.

February Precipitation

  • The February precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 1.73 inches, 0.40 inch below average, and ranked in the driest third of the historical period of record.
  • Precipitation was above average from the Mid-Mississippi Valley to New England. Ohio had its sixth-wettest February. Precipitation was below average across most of the West and portions of the Plains, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. California and Nebraska each had their second-driest February with Nevada ranking third driest.
    • A Category 4 atmospheric river event brought significant rainfall, flooding and avalanche concerns to portions of Oregon and Washington during February 27-28.
  • The state of Alaska, as a whole, ranked as the wettest February in the 98-year record. Juneau had its wettest February following its wettest January on record. King Salmon also experienced its wettest February on record, while Anchorage ranked second-wettest. Snowpack was above normal across most of the state.
  • According to the March 1 U.S. Drought Monitor report, 59.2 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, up nearly 4 percent from the beginning of February. Drought conditions expanded or intensified across portions of the northern and central Plains, as well as across parts of the West, Midwest, Great Lakes and from Florida to the Carolina coast. Drought contracted on the Big Island of Hawaii, but expanded across the islands of Kauai and O’ahu. Drought severity lessened across portions of the southern Plains and across Puerto Rico.

Winter Highlights

December-February Temperature

  • The winter (December-February) average contiguous U.S. temperature was 34.8°F, 2.5°F above average, ranking in the warmest third of the winter record.
  • Winter temperatures were above average across much of the Lower 48 with Georgia and South Carolina each experiencing their seventh-warmest winter on record. Temperatures ranked near average from the Pacific Northwest to the western Great Lakes with no states ranking below average for the winter season.
  • The Alaska December-February temperature was 6.3°F, 2.7°F above the long-term average, ranking among the middle one-third of the 97-year record. Above-average temperatures were observed across the Aleutians, Bristol Bay, Cook Inlet and the southern half of the West Coast, Central Interior and Southeast Interior regions. Temperatures were below average across portions of the North Slope and the southern Panhandle.
  • The contiguous U.S. average maximum (daytime) temperature during December-February was 46.4°F, 3.7°F above the 20th-century average, ranking eighth warmest in the historical record. Above-average temperatures were observed across most of the Lower 48 with Oklahoma ranking second warmest and Arkansas, third warmest on record. No states across the Lower 48 ranked below average for the winter season.
  • The contiguous U.S. average minimum (nighttime) temperature during December-February was 23.1°F, 1.4°F above the 20th-century average, ranking in the warmest third of the record. Above-average temperatures were observed across parts of the West and from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. Nighttime temperatures were below average across parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley and central Plains.
  • Based on NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during the winter season was 45 percent of average and the 15th-lowest value in the 127-year period of record.

December-February Precipitation

  • The winter precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 5.76 inches, 1.03 inches below average, and ranked as the 12th-driest winter in the 127-year period of record.
  • Precipitation was above average across parts of the Upper Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee valleys. Minnesota had its 10th-wettest winter. Precipitation was below average across portions of the West, central and southern Plains, Gulf Coast and across parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Louisiana had its third-driest winter on record with Nebraska ranking fourth driest and Kansas, fifth driest.
  • Climatologically speaking, winter is the wet season across much of the western U.S. If the dry conditions experienced in January and February across portions of the West were to continue into March and April, insufficient water resources may result during the dry season (summer), as well as an increased potential for drought intensification and wildfires in the fall.
    • Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the U.S., is nearing its lowest water level since it was filled more than 50 years ago. By mid-March, the water level is expected to drop below 3,525 feet above sea level, threatening the region’s water supply and ability to generate hydropower.
  • Five regions in Alaska — Bristol Bay, West Coast, North Slope, Northeast Interior and Southeast Interior — ranked wettest on record for the winter season, contributing to a record-wet winter for the state of Alaska, eclipsing the previous record set in 1928-29. Nome experienced its wettest winter since 1943-44 and King Salmon had its wettest winter on record.

Extremes

  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for the winter season was 26 percent above average and ranked in the middle third of the 113-year period of record. Extremes in warm maximum temperatures, dry PDSI values and extremes in 1-day precipitation each contributed to this elevated CEI value for this season. The USCEI is an index that tracks extremes (falling in the upper or lower 10 percent of the record) in temperature, precipitation and drought across the contiguous United States.
    • On the regional scale, the Northwest and Southeast regions had CEI composite values that were above average for the winter season. Across the Northwest, extremes in dry PDSI across the eastern portion of the region were juxtaposed with elevated extremes in 1-day precipitation along the Pacific Coast. In the Southeast, extremes in warm maximum temperature as well as extremes in 1-day precipitation were elevated.

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