February 2016 Summary – Warmer and Wetter than Average

Blue Hill Observatory
February 2016 Summary:

The month was notable for being much warmer than average except for a brief period of frigid cold in the middle of the month with more precipitation and snowfall than normal. The 24-hour mean temperature for the month of 32.2 deg F was 5.8 degrees warmer than the 120-year average for February and about three degrees warmer than the 1981-2010 30-year average. This makes February the eleventh warmest on record.  February was generally warm except for a bitterly cold period from the 10th to the 15th. The highest temperature for the month of 64F, which occurred on the 1st, was one of four days during the month that reached 60 deg F or higher including 63F on the 25th and 63F on the 29th, which surpassed the previous record for leap day of 56F in 1976. The coldest temperature during the month of -14F on the 14th was the coldest temperature recorded on Great Blue Hill since -16F was observed on January 15th, 1957.  The 14th not only set a new record low minimum temperature for the date, surpassing -8F in 1979, but also tied the record low maximum for the 14th of 10F set previously in 1979. The four 60-degree days tied for the second most for any February. There were seventeen days during the month that averaged warmer than the 30-year normal including three days, on the 1st, 4th and 29th, that were twenty degrees or more warmer than normal. Two days, the 13th and 14th, were twenty degrees or more colder than normal including a daily departure of -30 deg F and a mean temperature of -2F on the 14th. The generally warm weather during February hastened the thaw of Houghton’s Pond. The pond thaw occurred on a very warm and windy morning with strong thunderstorms and heavy rain on February 25th, which tied for the eighth earliest thaw of this pond on record. February was wetter than average with a precipitation total of 5.60 inches, which was about an inch and a half more than both the long-term 120-year average and the 30-year mean. The monthly snowfall was 22.5 inches, which was about eight inches more than average. More than half of this total, 12.5 inches, which was the greatest for the month in 24 hours, fell during a snowstorm on the 5th. The mean wind speed was 14.7 mph, with a prevailing direction from the west-northwest. A peak gust of 76 mph from the south, which set a new wind gust record for the date, was observed during the strong thunderstorms on the 25th. This was the highest wind gust on Blue Hill since a gust of 76 mph from the E was observed during the passage of Hurricane Sandy on October 29th, 2012. February sunshine was close to average with 51 percent of the possible bright sunshine being observed, which was one percent more than the long-term average.

BHO Coldest February Minimum Temperatures, deg F (1885-2016):

1) -21 on 9 Feb 1934
2) -18 on 15 Feb 1943
3) -16 on 17 Feb 1896
    -16 on 16 Feb 1943
5) -14 on 12 Feb 1914
    -14 on 5 Feb 1918
    -14 on 14 Feb 2016
8) -12 on 2 Feb 1961

BHO Number of February Days 60 Deg F or Warmer (1885-2016):

1) 5 in 1981
2) 4 in 1930
    4 in 2016
4) 3 in 1954
    3 in 1976
    3 in 1991

BHO Earliest Houghton’s Pond Thaw, (1885-2016):

1) February 22, 1981
    February 22, 2002
3) February 23, 1990
    February 23, 1997
    February 23, 2012
6) February 24, 1960
    February 24, 1998
8) February 25, 1984
    February 25, 2016
10) February 26, 1954


Mike Iacono
Chief Scientist
Blue Hill Observatory