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Overall mild February in Berks but with snow arriving at just the right times

If there’s one place where the tale of the warm era this century, and specifically since 2010, shows in Berks County, it is February.

There have been five Februaries since 2012 that made it to the top 10 warmest — most of any month — in the process of significantly raising the bar to get into that lofty grouping.

Last month didn’t quite make, finishing 11th with a 38.1-degree average temperature on the automated equipment at Reading Regional Airport, which is a joint venture with the National Weather Service and the Federal Aviation Administration.

However, that 38.1 would have been good enough for sixth, of course, if it had occurred prior to 2012. There are now 126 Februaries in the temperature database for Berks, so 11 is still pretty high up there.

The tale of recent years has become familiar: Most months have few records for warmth but just an overall elevated temperature.

Jeffrey R. Stoudt, retired meteorologist and Berks weather historian, reviews:

• February 2024 was without any record high temperatures despite its 11th place finish.

• The warmest of 65 (degrees) on the 27th is only slightly above the average monthly highest for February. Most warmest months of February, and also many cooler ones, had a highest in the 70s. The earliest 80 in a year occurred in February — and it’s been the only 80 in a February — in 2018 and that month is part of three-way tie for eighth.

• And the highest low temperature of 42 on the 11th is not too unusual.

• The major contributor to the 38.1 final average was the consistency of days ranging rather narrowly between moderately cold and mild.

• Harsh cold was brief or even absent with a lowest (temperature) of 19 on the 15th. Only February 1927 had a monthly lowest above 19 with 23 degrees. February 1919 also had a lowest of 19.

• February 2024 contained 20 daily lows of freezing or lower and no days that failed to rise above freezing (ice days). The average number ice days in February is six.

• Since 1898, only Februaries of 1952, 1998, 2002 and 2024 had no days that the mercury didn’t get past freezing. February 2023 and nine others had only one.

• Every day reached at least 37 degrees, tying with February 1998 for the mildest maximum daily temperature in a February.

For the meteorological winter overall, December through February, the average temperature was 38.1 degrees as well, placing at fourth warmest winter since 1898. Winter 2022-23 placed second at 38.7.

None recently have approached the 40.1-degree standard of winter 1931-32.

But even with the relative warmth, there was snow in the mix last month.

Stoudt added: “The majority of this precipitation coincided with air that was cold enough for snow, but only slightly so.

“Therefore, total snow accumulation, which was mostly slushy, was near average to slightly above for February and came as two snowfalls around midmonth.

“The official total February snow accumulation for the Reading area of 8.5 inches was keyed by 5.8 of slush on the morning of the 13th after some initial rain.

“However, the northern half of Berks County accrued approximately double that due partly to slightly colder air but mostly because of locally heavy banding, which included northern Berks and parts of nearby counties on the early morning of the 17th.

“Considering the dominant mildness and the deficiency of precipitation (below normal for the month), favorable timing of potential wintry precipitation and storm tracks resulted in very high snow efficiency this February.”

February weather

• 38.1 degrees: Temperature

• 33.1 degrees: Normal

• 2.18 inches: Precipitation

• 2.61 inches: Normal

• 8.5 inches: Snowfall (Season: 17.8 inches)

Berks Area Rainfall Networks totals (precipitation total/snow, each in inches):

• Pine Grove, 3.30/11.5

• Dryville, 2.96/18.2

• Auburn, 2.91/17.0

• Hamburg, 2.77/13.7

• Lobachsville, 2.77/14.2

• Bernville, 2.74/17.6

• Mohrsville, 2.68/12.0

• Oley Furnace, 2.58/NA

• Lincoln Park, 2.39/8.5

• Wyomissing, 2.39/8.0

• Cornwall Terrace, 2.35/9.7

• Shartlesville, 2.34 (incplt)/17.0

• Elverson N, 2.27/8.5

• Shillington, 2.27/8.0

• Blue Marsh Dam, 2.17/NA

• New Morgan, 2.09/8.1

• Vinemont, 2.0/9.5

• Hopewell, 1.96/NA


Source: Berkshire mont

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