February 2023 Summary – Warmer and Drier Than Average

Blue Hill Observatory February 2023 Summary: 

February 2023 was warmer than average with less precipitation, snowfall, and sunshine than expected. The approximated 24-hour mean temperature for the month of 32.9 deg F was 6.3 degrees warmer than the 1891-2020 130-year average for February, and it was 3.7 degrees warmer than the 1991-2020 30-year average. The average maximum temperature of 41.4 deg F was 4.4 degrees warmer than the 30-year normal, and the average minimum temperature of 24.0 deg F was 4.5 degrees warmer than the 30-year normal. Much of the month was warm, including a stretch of ten straight days from the 8th to the 17th that each averaged ten or more degrees warmer than normal. This period included the warmest temperature for the month, which was 61F on the 16th. The minimum temperature on the 16th was 50F, which established a new daily high minimum temperature for that date and also tied the record for the entire month of February previously set in 2018. The lowest temperature occurred during a brief outbreak of extremely cold and dry Arctic air on thd 3rd and 4th, which dropped the temperature to a daily record low of -11F at the end of the day on the 3rd and to a daily record low of -14F on the morning of the 4th, which dramatically broke the previous record for the date of -4F set in 1886 and 1908. This reading was the coldest temperature at the Observatory since -14F was measured on February 14th, 2016. The night of the 3rd and morning of the 4th also saw bitterly cold wind chill temperatures of -30F to -40F. The following day, on the 5th, the temperature recovered to a high of 49F, a climb of 63 deg F in about 33 hours. Colder than normal weather returned during the last week of the month, which also brought most of the monthly snowfall. The total precipitation was only 1.86 inches, which was 2.14 inches less than the 30-year normal. After only 0.07 inches fell during the first 20 days of the month, precipitation returned during the last week, and the greatest liquid equivalent precipitation in 24 hours was 1.10 inches on the 22nd-23rd, including melted snow, sleet and freezing rain. Total snowfall for the month was 9.4 inches, which was 8.8 inches below normal, and all but 0.2 inches fell during the last eight days of the month. The greatest 24-hour snowfall (including a significant amount of sleet) was 4.0 inches on the 22nd-23rd. The mean wind speed was 12.6 mph, which tied as the third lowest on record for February, and the prevailing wind direction was from the southwest. The highest wind gust was 56 mph from the west-northwest on the 3rd during the arrival of the Arctic airmass on that evening. February bright sunshine was below average with 128.3 hours, or 45 percent of possible, which was five percent less than the long-term average for February.

BHO February Lowest Mean Wind Speed, mph (1885-2023):

1) 11.7 in 2021
2) 12.0 in 2020
3) 12.6 in 2014
   12.6 in 2023
5) 12.7 in 2005
   12.7 in 2012
7) 12.8 in 2018  

Mike Iacono
Chief Scientist
Blue Hill Observatory