As I mentioned yesterday, it wasn’t looking likely that we would break the snowfall record for February 29th, and we didn’t. Of all records throughout the year, February 29th’s are probably the hardest to break. Not because the records are so extreme for that date, but because it only comes around once every 4 years. The record snowfall for February 29th in Wausau is 4.5 inches and was set back in the leap year of 1908. The big snowstorm brought 6.9 inches to Wausau, but 3.8 fell on Tuesday and only 3.1 inches fell on Wednesday. Even though we didn’t break the snowfall record, we did break a total precipitation record. After melting down the snow and adding in the rain amount, we had 0.60 inches on Wednesday. This broke the old record of 0.43 inches set back in 1948. In Rhinelander, the total snowfall between the 2 days of the storm was 20.2 inches. Both the 6.3 inches on the 28th and the 13.9 inches on the 29th were records.
The precipitation on the 28th and 29th of February also put us above average for the month of February. I am celebrating! Not only because today is the first day of Spring but because we are starting out the year with two months of above normal precipitation. I always love to see the growing season get off to a good start, and a good snowpack does add a little moisture to the ground and keeps the lake and stream levels up to par.
So precipitation for February was above normal, but what about the other statistics? Continuing the trend from early in the Winter, February was well above normal. It is uncanny how the temperatures have stayed consistently above normal for three months in a row now. December and January were both about 6 degrees above normal and February ended up the same way. If my preliminary calculations are correct, and the mean/average temperature for the entire Winter was 23.6, then it would put the Winter of 2011-12 in a tie for 3rd (with 1982-83) in the ranking of mildest Winter’s in Wausau. What is very interesting is that the Winter was so mild but we did not break too many records. We only had 2 record high temps in January. That was it. The pattern was just consistently mild. February was about 6 degrees above normal even though we only had 2 days when the high temperature hit 40 degrees or higher. We had more 40 degree days in January than in February. So much for the forecast of an extremely cold and snowy winter (by a couple other forecast outfits, not StormTrack9). With La Nina in the Pacific ocean, I forecast a little below normal temps and a bit above normal snowfall, but even that did not pan out. For the official Winter (December-January-February) we ended up with 33.1 inches of snow which was 3.9 inches below normal. For the entire “cold season” we are almost 9 inches below normal. Our total precipitation for the official Winter was 3.94 inches which was 0.64 inches above normal.
Other than the record precipitation on the 29th and the well above normal temps, there wasn’t much else to write home about during the month of February. It was slightly odd that the warmest temperature of the month was on the 4th. Normally during February, we would expect the warmest temps at the end of the month. The most common number we recorded was 33. We hit that mark for a high temperature on 5 different ocassions. Here are the complete stats:
Average High Temp: 33.1 (normal: 28.1)
Average Low Temp: 17.3 (normal: 10)
Total Precipitation: 1.38 inches (normal 0.92 inches)
Total Snowfall: 12.2 inches (normal 9.6 inches)
Highest Temp: 44 on the 4th
Lowest Temp: 1 on the 11th
Have a good Thursday! Meteorologist Justin Loew
This post was written by jloew on March 1, 2012