Tuesday, March 10, 2015

February 2015 Climate Data and Forecast Accuracy

February Recap

Temperatures were the big story in February, with the month ending as the 7th coldest on record. In fact, the second half of the month was the coldest comparable period in recorded history, breaking the previous record by over 5 degrees. The previous three months were very dry with severe drought in some parts of the metro, though near normal precipitation in February relieved some of the drought conditions. The 3-month severe weather drought continued through February, though wintry precipitation visited the metro multiple times in the second half of the month.

National temperature anomaly (departure from normal) for February shows the eastern 2/3 of the nation well below normal for the month. Graphic courtesy WxBell Analytics.

For the three-month period defined as "meteorological winter" (December-February), Memphis International Airport had an average temperature of 41.1 degrees (2.3 degrees below normal), 8.25" of precipitation (5.86" below normal), and 2.3" in snow (1.1" below normal).

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 36.2 degrees (9.3 degrees below average)
Average high temperature: 45.0 degrees (9.7 degrees above average)
Average low temperature: 27.4 degrees (8.9 degrees below average)
Warmest temperature: 66 degrees (14th)
Coolest temperature: 13 degrees (19th)
Records set or tied: The second half of February (15th-28th) was the coldest on record and the average temperature for the month was the 7th coldest on record. The high on the 23rd (28 degrees) tied a record (1889) for the lowest maximum temperature on record for the date.
Comments: Three days had high temps below freezing and 21 days had lows below freezing (11.5 days above average).

Monthly total: 4.35" (0.04" below average)
Days with measurable precipitation: 7
Wettest 24-hour period: 2.29" (20th-21st)
Total Snowfall: 2.3" (1.0" below average)
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Four days had precipitation above 0.50". There was no thunder reported at the airport for the third straight month. There were four days with snow reported, four days with freezing rain reported and two days with sleet.

Peak wind: South/41 mph (21st)
Average wind: 9.8 mph
Average relative humidity: 59%
Average sky cover: 70%

Click here for a daily statistical recap for Memphis International Airport.

Cirrus Weather Solutions / MemphisWeather.net, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 34.8 degrees
Average high temperature: 45.1 degrees
Average low temperature: 25.8 degrees
Warmest temperature: 65.0 degrees (14th)
Coolest temperature: 11.0 degrees (19th)
Comments: None

Monthly total: 4.58" (automated rain gauge), 4.64" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge)
Days with measurable precipitation: 7
Wettest date: 2.13" (21st) (via automated gauge)
Total Snowfall: 1.6"
Comments: Winter precip occurred on 4 days (16th, 17th, 20th, 22nd) totaling 1.35" of freezing rain and sleet and 1/4" of snow.

Peak wind: Northwest/26 mph (1st)
Average relative humidity: 71%

Click here for a daily statistical recap for Bartlett, TN.

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.41 degrees
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 67%
MWN average dewpoint error: 3.05 degrees
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 48%

MWN's forecasts extend out five periods (2.5 days, or roughly 60 hours). Historical accuracy statistics can be found here.

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Steve Scheer said...

I think you have a typo in the opening paragrph. You wrote "8.25" of precipitation (5.86" below normal)" but I don't think normal is 14" in February!

Meteorologist Erik Proseus said...

Hi Steve,

The 8.25" of precip is in the paragraph that recaps "meteorological winter" (a 3-month period). So, in fact, it is correct. We were nearly 6" below normal precip for the period Dec-Feb.

Thanks for reading!