February 2016 Weather summary for Gaithersburg Maryland for the NJWO Blog

by Kevin Shaw, Observer in charge

Average high temperature 45.0° (+ 0.3°)
Average low temperature 28.7° (+ 3.5°)
Mean temperature 36.9° (+ 1.9°)
Precipitation 4.59″ (+ 1.60″)
Greatest daily amount (date) 1.13″ (24)
Year to date precipitation 9.10″ (+ 3.06″)
Snowfall 4.7″ (- 4.5″)
Greatest daily amount (date) 2.4″ (15)
Greatest depth of snow (date) 5″ (1)
High temperature for the month (date) 66° (20,28)
Low temperature for the month (date) 10° (14)
Highest barometric pressure (date) 30.61″ (19)
Lowest barometric pressure (date) 29.27″ (24)
Peak wind gust (date/direction): 26 (13/WNW)
Heating degree days for the month: 816
Cooling degree days for the month: 0
Greatest diurnal range (date): 36.9° (28)
Least diurnal range (date) 4.7° (23)

Fog days: 5
Snow days: 7
Glaze: 2
Thunder: 1
Sunny/clear days: 5 Partly Cloudy days: 12 Cloudy days: 12

Days with measurable precipitation (=>.01″) = 13
Days with maximum temperatures of 32 or less = 5
Days with minimum temperatures of 32 or less = 19

by Kevin Shaw, observer in charge

February was a slightly warmer (as usual due to warm minimums rather than warm max values) and significantly wetter (sixth wettest month in my 38 period of record {POR}). Snowfall was about half of normal, with just a few light snowfalls in the middle of the month and one freezing rain event that came after our biggest snow of the month on the 15th. Records were few, one of the 2 highest temperature occurrences during the month on the 20th (66°) set the only daily record high temperature, with low max records of 24° and 25° tied/set on the 13th and 14th the only other records set. Three significant precipitation events occurred during the month, but did not set or tie any daily records (0.95″ on the 3rd-5th, 1.31″ on the 15th-17th, and 1.70″ on the 23rd-25th). The latest one featured warm air at the end with summer-like skies and an early evening thunderstorm, fairly rare for February. The event in the middle of the month featured the biggest snow of the month at the start, then some significant freezing rain in the middle, then warmer rains towards the end of the event that melted all the ice and snow before the end of the day. The earliest precipitation event was not that notable with regards to summer or winter-like types of precipitation. I might add that the lowest barometric pressure of the month (29.27″) occurred late in the day on the 24th, the day of the thunderstorm.

The average maximum temperature for the month was 45.0° (+0.3°), the average minimum temperature was 28.7° (+ 3.5°). The resultant mean average temperature for the month was 36.9° (+ 1.9°). A bit of a warmer rebound from the January cold though there was a mini-cold wave this month from the 11th-15th when we had all 5 days for the month of staying below freezing all day.

The month’s total precipitation amount of 4.59″ was 1.60″ above the normal February amount of 2.99″. Precipitation was spread out on 13 of the 29 days of this leap year February month, with no really notable dry or prolonged wet periods. 13 days of measurable precipitation for the month was significantly above the long-term normal amount of 9.5 days. Total snowfall for the month of 4.7″ was 4.5″ below the long term February average of 9.2″. There were only three days with measurable snow as the other four days with snow were just trace amounts.

The month’s highest barometric pressure reading of 30.61″ on the 19th occurred during our short 3 day warmest spell of the month. The lowest
pressure reading of the month was 29.27″ on the 24th, our wettest February day complete with a thunderstorm in the early evening that day.

The distribution of 5 sunny, 12 partly cloudy and 12 cloudy days correlated pretty well with the above normal monthly precipitation total of 4.59″.

There were 816 heating degree days (HDD) and 0 cooling degree days. There were an about normal amount of 5 days with fog observed, 2 days with glaze and 1 with thunder . The peak wind gust during the month was 26 MPH out of the WNW on the 13th, in the middle of our coldest period of February. I had a total of 7 days with PWG days of 20 MPH or more, including 4 out of the last 6 days of the month.

My maximum temperature frequencies included 4 days of 60° or more, 7 days between 50° and 59°, 9 days between 40° and 49°, 6 days between 30° and 39°, and 3 days between 20° and 29°. On the minimum temperature frequency side of things, there were 4 days between 10° and 19°, 13 days between 20° and 29°, 9 days between 30° and 39°, and 3 days with a minimum of 40°.

The diurnal range average was below normal (16.4° vs the normal of 19.5°). The max daily range of 36.9° occurred on the 28th during our second big warmup of the month which started off with a below freezing minimum (66°- 29°). The lowest daily temperature range of 4.7° occurred on the 23rd during the initial very stable, cool, cloudy damp day during our wettest period of the month. We had 4 days with a diurnal range less than 10° but conversely 8 days with ranges of 20° or more, mostly at the beginning and towards the end of the month.

February 2016 was another story in contrasts compared with snowy and colder January 2016. Both months had about the same amount of precipitation, but rain rather than snow dominated the scene in February as opposed to snowy January. Unlike January’s predominantly WNW/NW/NNW flow (based on direction of peak wind gusts on each day of the month), February had roughly the same amount of days (about 10) with that basic NW/SW flow. This helped to make a rather up and down month, with roughly evenly distributed precipitation. Stay tuned in a few weeks for the March report. It should be interesting as we transition into spring.

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