February went down fighting to hold on to winter

There were 11 days with below-freezing temperatures.


WALLA WALLA -- Spring may be on the horizon, but winter wasn't giving up easy last month.

February brought its share of gray, wet days and more than a bit of frosty weather besides. Thirteen days of the month delivered measurable precipitation with the heaviest, .38 inches, falling on Feb. 24.

Despite doses of rain, sleet and hail, the month ended up below-par for precipitation with 1.39 inches, a mark .37 inches below normal. Overall precipitation this year stands at 3.73 inches, which is .56 inches below average.

Total precipitation for the water year, which began in October and runs through September, is now 7.32 inches, which is 3.99 inches below normal.

In terms of temperature, there were 11 days with below-freezing temperatures. Among those were one day, Feb. 7, when both daytime and nightime highs stayed below 32 degrees. The coldest night was Feb. 27 when the mercury dropped to 23 degrees while the warmest day came on Feb. 24 when the high climbed to 66 degrees.

February was also a fairly gusty month with 16 days where winds topped 20 mph. A fast-moving weather system which moved through Feb. 22 produced the peak gusts of 58 mph as measured at Whitman Mission National Historic Site and 55 mph as measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

Along with the return of Daylight Saving Time, this month will also bring the official end to winter, which comes on March 20 with the spring equinox.

But despite the taste of warm, sunny weather which arrived Sunday, the long-range forecast from the federal Climate Prediction Center calls for below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation this month.

Normal highs rise from 50 degrees at the start of the month to 59 degrees at the end. Normal precipitation, based on a 30-year average, is 2.30 inches.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.


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