Northeast Weather Summary: A Mild February with Limited Snowfall

March 4, 2020 // Article by: Cody Hewitt

We may have had an extra day due to it being a leap year, but it would not have mattered either way. The last meteorological month of winter was simply unimpressive as it lacked winter chill as well as snowfall. In fact, many across the Northeast saw close to or the least amount of snow on record. In fairness, plenty of moisture allowed for near or above normal precipitation, but without any semblance of cold air and a progressive pattern, nothing came together to give the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast any substantial snowfall.

Several rain events marked the first two weeks of the month, which made up a majority of February’s precipitation. The pattern lent to quick moving systems that involved rapid frontal passages but no real sustained bouts of cold air due to the lack of blocking in the upper atmosphere. An organized system on the 6th was the only real push of cold air, which caused a wintry mix as the storm pivoted out. This led to only a few tenths to an inch or two of snowfall across the interior, although accumulations did stretch out to Boston, MA with at least 0.3” of snow and sleet.

The only other notable event came on the 13th as a massive storm across Texas lifted into the region and once again brought a wintry mix of snow and sleet to areas north/west of the I-95 corridor. Both Hartford, CT, and Boston, MA were able to pick up a few tenths but this would be the last time anyone saw measurable snowfall in any of the major cities. In fact, the rest of the month only saw snow showers off the Great Lakes with any real accumulations relegated to the ridges of eastern Pennsylvania, the Catskills of New York, and the Berkshires of Massachusetts.

It did dry some for the final two weeks of the month, though a rain storm on the 27th did bring a few tenths up to an inch across the Mid-Atlantic. Overall, much of the region landed near normal in this department with 2.5-3.5” of precipitation to work with, more or less satisfying normals. As for snowfall, most big cities received nothing more than a trace, expect for Hartford and Boston. Baltimore saw the least amount of snow for February on record, while Philadelphia, New York, and Providence tied for the least amount of snow with trace. Even the 0.5” that Boston received landed them in them in the bottom ten of total February snowfalls, finishing 7th.

As for temperatures, the month finished 4.5 – 6 degrees warmer than normal. However, there were stretches within the month that averaged as much as 10 – 15 degrees above average! Any cold spells lasted two days at most, in particular the 14th and 15th and again on the 20th and 21st.

As for the winter itself (December through February), it was certainly below average for snowfall across New England but elsewhere, almost everyone outside of the northwest fringes of the Northeast have seen one of the least snowy winters on record. Both Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. fell below 2011-2012 levels, which was the last time totals were this low, falling to 4th for winters with the least amount of snow. Just 0.3” at Philadelphia marks the 2nd least annual snowfall so far. The warmth of January and February sent many places into the top 10 warmest, with Boston, MA leading the pack with their 2nd warmest winter on record.