February - A tale of Two Seasons

February 2008:
Cool and Wet With Plenty of Ups and Downs
Highly variable conditions from one day to another characterized the month of February 2008. Spring-like warmth would arrive for one day, followed by sharply falling temperatures into the teens the next. The month started out fairly mild, but then shifted in general to a cooler than normal pattern to close out the month. Precipitation came in abundance, but was mostly liquid, as snowfall remained below normal for the month.
February 2008 was in the top 20 for most precipitation during the month.
The following is a summary of the conditions experienced in Indianapolis during the month of February, 2008.
February 2008 finished with an average monthly temperature of 29.8 degrees. This was below normal by 1.4 degrees. This made it the second year in a row where February tallied a below normal temperature for the month as a whole. February of last year was epic in its cold, and finished up nearly 10 degrees colder than this year’s February. What was quite remarkable for this year’s February was the variability in daily temperatures. This was evident in days like the 3rd, with a high of 38, which was then followed by the 4th with a high of 64. Then on the 5th, a high of 65 was followed by a high of 45 on the 6th. This happened again later in the month, with a high of 43 on the 16th, then 61 on the 17th, and then back to cool weather with a high of 36 on the 18th
 Although the variability in daily temperature extremes lessend slightly the last 10 days, the close of the month still averaged colder than normal.
Overall, 13 days in February 2008 reported temperatures at or above normal. 9 days during the month saw a high temperature fail to reach above the freezing mark. An average February sees 7 days with sub-freezing high temperatures. The coldest temperature of the month was 6 degrees on the 11th. Only three nights saw low temperatures colder than 10 degrees. Normally 5 such days are expected in February.
February 2008 was in the top 20 for precipitation amount. The monthly total of 4.34 inches was above the normal of 2.41 inches by 1.93 inches. This made it the 16th wettest February on record, and the wettest since 1990 when over 5 inches fell during February. This year most of the precipitation was in liquid form. 1.83 inches of rain fell on the 5th of this month, when a line of strong and severe thunderstorms crossed the area. This was a daily record for the 5th of February, with the previous record being 1.35 inches set back in 1976.  Measurable precipitation fell on 13 of the 29 days this month.
Snow was unremarkable during this February. Most of the storms that impacted the area left on light amounts of snow in Indianapolis, and many times the snow turned to rain during the storm. The monthly snowfall total was 5.4 inches, which was below normal by 0.7 inches. This was considerably less than the very snowy February experienced just last year when 18.2 inches fell.
The biggest one day snowfall this month was only 1.3 inches, measured back on the 20th of the month. Daily snow depths never exceeded one inch, as warmer weather tended to follow quickly after snowfall. However, the last 11 days of the month recorded at least a trace of snow depth each day. At least a trace of snowfall fell on 19 of the 29 days in this month.
Severe weather, which is a rare visitor to Central Indiana in February, came to call on the 5th of the month. A line of strong and severe thunderstorms crossed the area during the evening hours. Winds gusted as high as 82 mph in the area, and an EF-1 tornado touched down in Greene County. January and February of 2008 have both brought confirmed tornadoes to Central Indiana, with an early start to the 2008 severe weather season.
The official outlook for the month of March calls for an enhanced likelihood of both above normal precipitation and above normal temperatures in Central Indiana.
Data Prepared by Logan Johnson, Climate Services Focal Point with assistance from Forecast Team.
Please Contact w-ind.webmaster@noaa.gov for more information.
Temperature and Precipitation Records Cover 1871-2007 in the Indianapolis Area.
Snowfall Records Cover the period 1884-2007 in the Indianapolis Area.
Normals refer to reference period 1971-2000.

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