February and March 2022: Winter Wraps Up

April 6, 2022 // Article by: Nate Woltmann


Although February began on a fairly mild note with rain falling on the 1st, temperatures quickly crashed as a sizeable storm system passed east and changed any rain to snow into the 2nd. This storm brought quite a gradient in snowfall amounts across northern IL. For example, northern locations near Waukegan saw a half inch of snow, whereas the Chicago area reported anywhere from 4 - 8" of snow. In fact, farther south near Joliet saw even more, with around a foot! Behind the system, temperatures dipped into the 20s for highs and single digits or teens for lows. Although cold, only some occasional snow showers and flurries fell, with coatings to less than an inch.

The middle of February featured quite a few temperature swings with daytime highs in the mid 40s and even mid 50s falling sharply into the 20s and 30s a day or two later. Most wintry weather was minor, but there was a quick-hitting and gusty 2 - 4" snowstorm on the 17th which impacted much of the I-88 corridor. Temperatures for the remainder of the month continued to vary with another 2 - 4" event on the 24th - 25th before the pattern quieted down a bit. Overall, temperatures were 0.5 - 1.5 degrees below normal for the month. And while places near the lake finished 1 - 3 inches above normal for snowfall, areas further west featured below normal amounts for the month.

The first week of March began on the warm side with temperatures 10 - 15 degrees above normal. That changed on the 6 and 7th, when colder air arrived accompanied by snow and sleet, which amounted to 1 - 3" for many in northern IL. The following week remained rather chilly, but mostly featured small events, other than the 0.5 - 2.0" of snow that fell on the 10th and 11th. From there on out, wintry weather was hard to come by with mainly rain events and mostly above normal temperatures. In fact, temperatures touched 70 for the first time of the year on March 16th and even reached the mid 70s on the 21st! Although brief, temperatures did cool down around the 25th and 26th, allowing for a few coatings of snow. 

With the warm swings in March, it's not surprising the month ended with average tempeatures around 2 degrees above normal. Precipitation amounts were also above normal, but snowfall finished out about 1 - 2" below normal thanks to the milder temperatures.

Central Indiana Into Ohio:

February began on a mild note with temperatures in the 50s from Indy to Columbus and even topping 60 degrees in Cincinnati, OH. However, it didn't take long for winter to return with a major winter storm on the 2nd to 4th. Rain changed to sleet and freezing rain providing a coating to 0.2" of icy glaze, then this mix transitioned to snow with a whopping 6 - 12" for most. The heaviest snow fell along and north of I-70 with areas south seeing a bit less. After this event, temperatures were more or less colder than average into mid-month with a few days only in the 20s for highs. A warm up then ensued, with temperatures around 60 on the 16th. This was followed by a heavy rain event on the 17th with 1.50 - 2.25 inches of rainfall in one day. Some coatings of wintry mix and icy areas also occurred on the backside of the system, but the main story was the subsequent flooding.

NWS snowfall totals generated by the Iowa Environmental Mesonet valid on February 4th. 

Otherwise, several more rain events occurred for the rest of the month with any snowfall below 0.5" in most storms. There was a notable ice storm on the 24 - 25th however, with 0.1 - 0.2" of icy glaze. Overall, the monthly average temperature for February was near normal for most in Ohio, but was 1.7 degrees below normal around Indianapolis. Total precipitation was 2 - 3 inches above normal from central Indiana into Ohio, but only Indianapolis managed above normal snowfall with 8.3". Places from Columbus to Cincinnati were mostly 2 - 3" below normal for snowfall. 

Radar images from March 6th at 3:30 AM showing severe thunderstorms crossing the region. NWS. 

The first 6 days of March didn't feature any wintry weather as temperatures soared into the 60s and 70s. In fact, on the 6th and 7th, heavy rain and severe thunderstorms pushed through the Ohio Valley. Over 2.00 inches of rain fell in may places with wind damage from thunderstorms. One tornado was confirmed northwest of Kokomo, IN, however two tornadoes were confirmed in Ohio, one near Russia and the other near Versailles. Temperatures cooled down after this severe weather, with a few coatings of snow, through the 12th. Ohio managed a bit more on the 11 - 12th, however, with 1.0 - 1.5" of snow in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus.

Temperatures subsequently warmed back up after this bit of snow, reaching the 70s on the 16th and 17th and again on the 21st. After a rain event on the 22nd and 23rd, a cool down allowed for a few snow showers on the 26 - 27th. This didn't last long though, as temperatures climbed to 80 degrees on the 30th for many in Ohio. The Indianapolis area reached the upper 70s, which is still very warm for March.

Overall, March temperatures were 3 - 4 degrees above normal and while precipitation in central Indiana was around 1" above normal, most in southwestern Ohio were 1.50 - 2.00" below normal. Snowfall for March typically ranges from 3 - 4 inches from central Indiana to southwest Ohio, but this year Indianapolis only saw coatings while Cincinnati and Columbus received about 2.0 inches of snow.