The second month of this year was quite a roller coaster ride in the weather department.
There were a couple of big snowstorms in Iowa, but state climatologist Harry Hillaker says most Iowans will remember this February for an extended period of unusually warm temperatures between the 16th and 22nd. “Every single day, seven days in a row, somewhere in Iowa got up to 70 degrees or higher. The highest was 79 degrees in Ottumwa on the 22nd,” Hillaker said. “Prior to this year, we never had more than four days (in February) in the 70s in the state.”
For the entire month, the preliminary statewide average temperature was 34.4 degrees. “That’s 10.4 degrees warmer than the February average and, preliminarily, that would be the third warmest February in 145 years of records,” Hillaker said. It could end up being the second warmest February on record once all the numbers are tallied. The warmest month of February ever recorded in Iowa was in 1954, with a statewide average temperature of 35.5. The second warmest was 1998 at 34.8 degrees.
There were also some very cold temperatures across the state last month, with the coldest recording at Little Sioux, which hit three-below-zero on February 9th. The Harrison County town of Little Sioux also racked up the most snowfall over the month with 13.6 inches. “Although, the biggest amount from a single storm was last week’s event where we had 12.5 inches reported near West Bend and a foot of snow at Algona,” Hillaker said.
Little Sioux was hit by a snowstorm on February 8th that covered mostly southern Iowa AND the blizzard last week that pounded northwest and north-central Iowa. Many areas of southern Iowa have received less than six inches of snow this entire winter. Meanwhile, snowfall totals over the northern half of the state are well above normal. “Some places, close to 40 inches of snow so far this winter, up in north-central Iowa,” Hillaker said. “Along the Missouri border, there are many areas with only three to five inches this entire winter.”