The stats confirm what we’ve all been grumbling about.
Last month was the third coldest February on record, and this winter is already the ninth most severe, according to Decorah Meteorologist Richard Bernatz.
Severity is calculated based on temperature and snowfall. The winter of 1993-94 is the most recent winter with a greater severity rank of fifth.
The winter of 1978-79 ranks first in severity of the 120 winters on record.
A record low temperature of -16 degrees was set Feb. 28. The previous record low for the day was -14 in 1913.
There were 23 days last month with a high temperature below average and 24 days with a low temperature below average.
The high temperature last month was 42 degrees Feb. 18, and the coldest temperature was -26 degrees Feb. 11.
Comparing last month with all Februaries since 1894 (119 years – data from 1909 and 1911 is missing):
• Two Februaries were colder and 116 were warmer
• The warmest average temperature was 33.4 degrees in 1954
• The coldest average was 3.8 degrees in 1936
• The warmest temperature was 66 degrees Feb. 22, 1930
• The coldest temperature was -41 degrees Feb. 3, 1996.
Total precipitation last month was 1.5 inches, .55 inches more than the average amount of .95 inches.
There were seven days with measurable precipitation last month; the average is five days. The greatest 24 hour total was .59 inches Feb. 17. There were six days with measurable snowfall totaling 10 inches; three inches greater than the average amount of seven inches. The greatest 24-hour snowfall was four inches Feb. 17.
Comparing last month with all Februaries since 1894 (120 years – no data for 1896):
• 18 were wetter, one was the same and 101 were drier
• The wettest February was 1915, 3.96 inches
• The driest was 1987 when no precipitation fell
• 30 Februaries had more snow, two had the same and 87 had less snow
• The snowiest February was in 1962 with 27 inches
According to Bernatz, “remarkable temperature features” for this winter include:
• The number of days with minimum temperature less than zero is 44 days (average is 23, the most was 55 degrees in 1916-1917)
• The number of days with temperatures less than -9 is 26 days (average is 11, the most is 32 in 1915-1916 and 1916-1917)
• The number of days with maximum temperatures less than 20 is 41 (average is 20, the most is 46 in 1917-1918)
Snowfall totals this winter are “less remarkable,” Bernatz said.
Total snowfall this winter is 35 inches; 28 inches is average. The most snowfall on record is 58 inches the winter of 1977-1978.
There have been 17 days with snowfall; the average is 14 days. The winter of 1977-1978 had 29 days with snowfall, the most on record.
The length of the snowfall season is 72 days this year; average is 86 days. The longest snowfall season on record is 116 days the winter of 1991-1992.
Past 12 months
Bernatz reported eight of the past 12 months have been colder than average. Seven of the past 12 months have been wetter than average, and five were drier than average.