Did High Temperatures in February 2017 Break Records?
Here in Virginia, USA, close to Williamsburg, we had three days in the month of February with temperatures of 81F / 27C. That is hot for this time of year! Those are Florida temperatures, not Virginia. Those are nice-days-in-summer temperatures for us! So, I ask myself, “What’s going on here? Did high temperatures in February 2017 break records? Is this climate change or what?”
Two years ago, on February 26th, 2015, I took this photograph of my snowy yard–obviously a much colder day–the kind of weather you’d expect in February.
In addition, according to a comment I received to my previous post, “Geese are Flying North,” I can see that we, in Virginia, were not the only ones having a warmer than usual February. Deb from Wisconsin wrote:
While I love watching the birds, it worries me, because this is extremely unusual to have all this action so early, due to unusually warm weather in Feb. With all the odd weather this spring, it makes me wonder about climate change.
Therefore, I decided to look up the official temperature records for the month of February, now wondering even more: “Did the high temperatures in February break records?” The National Centers for Environmental Information website says:
During February, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 41.2°F, 7.3°F above the 20th century average. This ranked as the second warmest February in the 123-year period of record. Nearly one-quarter of the U.S. was record warm in February. Only February 1954 was warmer for the nation at 41.4°F. Between December 2016 and February 2017, the average temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 35.9°F, 3.7°F above average, the sixth warmest winter on record.
Well, that’s a delightful surprise and a relief: The second warmest February in 123 years. Not the warmest! The high temperatures in February 2017 did not break records for the month of February. Amazingly, temperatures in February,1954, soared slightly higher by 0.2F! Was it really that warm in 1954? 63 years ago? Really? It’s hard to believe!
But wait! The above assessment merely reflects a comparison of average high temperatures in February 2017 for the whole U.S.! What about individual places? Were any temperature records broken there? Yes, definitely. In fact, according to weather.com:
From February 17-24, roughly 2,900 daily warm records (record highs, and record warm lows) were set across the U.S.
In addition, over 250 record high temperatures for any February day were also set, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
I counted 30 record highs broken on a chart at the above website, including Boston, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York; and Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, all-time record highs for the whole month of February were broken in Burlington, Vermont.
And what of my dear sweet homeland, Canada? According to CBC News, Toronto experienced record high temperatures in February also:
With Saturday’s high of 11.6 C, ?Toronto just crushed a February high temperature record set back in 2011.
Well, that just about says it. Something is definitely going on. But what?
Did your area, town, or city experience record-breaking high temperatures in February 2017? Did you experience higher than normal temperatures in February? Please share in the comments section below.