Top 10 February

February is the driest month of the year with an average of 0.61 inches of rain and melted snow.  Of course, part of the reason for this month being the driest is the shortness of the month, but also, because of the general dry conditions this area experiences during the winter.  Fargo Moorhead only average 2.14 inches of moisture from December through February.

Since records started in 1881, February has been the wettest of the three principle months of winter only 20% of the time.  In the past two decades when winter snowfall has generally been above average, this month was sometimes the only period when we would catch a break from the heavy snows.  But the past two years, February has not been so kind.  Granted, last winter was mostly dry and mild, yet, February 2012 did record 12.5 inches of snow.

That was the highest since 1994, until this year, as we have already surpassed that total with a couple more days to go.

6 Responses

  1. Dustin

    Is the shortness of the month the only thing making February drier than January? To me, January is more likely to be under the influence of the arctic high pressure which makes precipitation nearly impossible. February is getting closer to the spring months when precipitation is more frequent.

  2. August is drier than July on average. Same scenario in many ways. Seasonal lag is the key. Even with a couple of more days, February would still average drier. But the difference is quite trivial, so the reality is all three winter months are pretty much the same.

  3. Dustin

    But wouldn’t August be drier than July because August is further from the wettest spring/early summer months, and closer to the driest winter months?

  4. Daryl Ritchison

    More complex than that. Maybe someday with more time I will post on a blog on low level wind flow climatology.

  5. Kyle Hafliger

    Another stat this February, referring to temperature instead, is that this was the first month without a single day above freezing since January 1994!

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