Past IEM Features tagged: feb18
The cold of February has mostly continued into March along with the frequent snow producing storms. The featured chart looks back on the distribution of average daily high temperatures for the month among long term climate sites in the state. The overall climatology over all years is shown as well for comparison. Nearly all of the distribution for 2019 is shown colder than the simple average of climatology, but the distribution is tight and does not necessarily exceed the minimum extremities of climatology. The first pass reasoning for this is persistent snow cover that helps to keep sites below freezing and the persistent storms which provide moisture and clouds to help keep temperatures from getting too cold.
Since February 3rd, Estherville (NW Iowa) has been below freezing. This makes for an eighteen day plus stretch of hourly temperatures below 32 degrees. The featured chart shows the longest such stretches during the month of February for the site. Note that the period of record only goes back to 1987. The current forecast has a chance of breaching 32 degrees either today or on Saturday, but after the upcoming powerhouse storm the temperatures return to well below freezing again for another extended stretch.
February was a wet month for some parts of the state. The featured chart presents the number of hours with measurable precipitation reported by the Burlington (far southeastern Iowa) Airport weather station (ASOS). The chart shows the hourly totals for this year, the maximum and the average based on period of record data. These types of charts can sometimes be problematic during the cold season as not all sites are capable of reporting precipitation during snowfall events. Regardless, the 38 hours this month are only a few shy of the 1998 total of 46.