MILD FEBRUARY GETTING EVEN MILDER
Halfway through February, temperatures in Philadelphia have been running more than FIVE degrees above normal-that’s a lot. But by the end of next week, it will be closer to EIGHT degrees above normal. Depending on how much we cool down after February 24th, we should end up the month as one of the warmest Februaries ever recorded.
How widespread is the warmth? Widespread doesn’t even adequately describe it. The map below shows temperatures compared to normal this Sunday afternoon:
In case you think that’s a large area of abnormally warm weather, take a look at a wider map. This one does from near the North Pole down to Central America. The area of at least 5 degrees Celsius above normal (9 degrees Fahrenheit) goes from Greenland through the entire U.S. east of the Rockies, way out into the Atlantic, and down to Central America.
Needless to say, it’s going to get unseasonably warm around here, and it’s going to stay that way for a while. But maybe not all the way through the month.
Here’s the same map (from the same computer model) for Monday, February 27th:
The blue areas show below normal temperatures, and they now cover most of the country. And the purplish areas are way below normal. It’s amazing how quickly weather patterns can change.
So, expect an unseasonably warm week ahead, but don’t expect winter to be over. At least winter temperatures, that is.
AND NOW A DROUGHT
It may be a bit of a surprise, but in Philadelphia, we haven’t had a single day with more than ONE inch of rain since about Thanksgiving! The lack of rain is combined with a lack of snow on the ground (that can keep the ground moist), and higher temperatures (which cause more evaporation), which keeps us getting drier and drier. And now, all of our Pennsylvania counties and small parts of New Jersey and Delaware are considered to be in a moderate drought.
As you can see, much of New England is in worse shape (for now-they have a LOT of snow to melt).
For more specifics, county-by-county, here are the precipitation “departures” compared to normal for the past two months:
So, Philadelphia is more than two inches below normal, with many of our other counties close to that. There’s no snow to melt to add to ground moisture, so we either need a good bit of snow and/or rain to prevent the drought from become more serious.
And there sure isn’t going to much rain (if any) for the next week. Here is the total precipitation expected through next Friday-practically nothing.
But some of that heavy rain in and near the Gulf of Mexico may affect our area starting next weekend. And isn’t that about the time that the cold air will be returning?
The bottom line: even though the next week will surely remind you of spring, it’s not likely to last much longer than that.