Back to Normal
By Russell Russ
The month’s low temperature of minus 2 degrees was observed on February 11. The high temperature of 54 degrees was observed on both February 17 and 18. On February 17 it was a record high temperature for that date, surpassing the old record of 52 set in 1981. The monthly average mean temperature was 22.2 degrees, 0.3 degree above normal. The month of February is typically when we get most of our lowest temperature readings, but this one was fairly tame.
The total precipitation recorded for the month was 4.57 inches, 0.94 inch above normal. February’s snowfall total was 22.4 inches, 2.1 inches above normal. The month started out on a snowy note, making it seem like we were in for more of what January dished out, but after the first week the weather patterns changed. Norfolk was on the rainy side of most of the later storms. Last year February was the big snowfall month with a total of 35.3 inches. This year it was January’s turn. There was a deep snow cover on the ground at the station every day this month with depths ranging from 22 to 32 inches.
The snowfall total for this winter season, October through February, is 89.8 inches, 23.7 inches above normal. At the end of February we were just one inch below our normal entire season average.
So far, for the two months of 2011 we are at 72.4 inches of snowfall, 31.1 inches above normal, and 8.32 inches for total precipitation, 0.63 inch above normal. Norfolk’s 80 year averages are 90.8 inches of snowfall per year and 52.55 inches of total precipitation per year.
Snow core measurements were taken several times during the month to determine the amount of water that was sitting on the ground in the form of snow and ice. February 7 with 28 inches of snow on the ground contained 6.9 inches of water. February 15 with 27 inches of snow contained 7.5 inches of water. February 27 with 26 inches of snow contained 7.9 inches of water. These figures show nearly two months worth of water sitting on the ground. This will become very important to forecasters as we approach the spring thaw.