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By Bob Valen 

A warm February

Weather Watcher

 


Goodness, February was like the start of spring. No snow, warm temperatures and not much precipitation. Mean temperatures across the state were above normal, and generally, precipitation was about average. What wasn’t average was our regional snowfall, or lack thereof.

Here at the home weather station, we had a high temperature of 58° on Feb. 7. The all-time February high temperature for our area was in 1995 at 61°. Our low for the month came Feb. 23 at 22.9°. In 1950 we had our all-time low temperature for February at -15°. Our total precipitation for the month was only 0.70 inch, and as stated we did not get any snowfall. The mean precipitation for February is 0.92 inch. So, we were only short two-tenths of an inch. As for snowfall, the mean for our area in February is 2.5 inches, with a record of 21.6 inches in 1950.

As you and I know, it’s difficult to offer up a long-term weather forecast. Yet, the Climate Prediction Center has some insight. Here’s what the State Climatologist office is recapping about the next three months: “The spring (March-April-May) … outlook is very similar to the March outlook. There are higher chances of above normal temperatures statewide for the spring temperature outlook, showing higher chances of above normal temperatures in western WA. Precipitation is expected to be below normal for the western half of the state. Eastern WA has equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal precipitation.”

As I write this column, we just had a nice rainfall which is always appreciated.

February has brought some devastating weather, though. In 1996 there was widespread flooding in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Major flooding occurred on rivers of western and southeast Washington. In Oregon, widespread flooding occurred on rivers across much of state. The panhandle of Idaho had major flooding. There were three deaths in Washington, and for the overall region damage was estimated at $800 million.

Looking to the night sky for March we should see five planets. Watch for a really brilliant Venus in the west at nightfall. Also, Mars is fading in the west at nightfall. Another bright one to watch for is Jupiter at nightfall in the eastern sky and is visible almost all night. Saturn can be seen from late night until dawn. Lastly, Mercury is an early riser in the east as dawn begins to break. We’ve had some clear skies, so get out there and observe.

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