Saturday, February 25, 2017

The February Heat Remains Ridiculous. I Have No Words....

A chance of severe thunderstorms today as far north
as Vermont, says the SPC. In February!!
The amazing February heat wave continued to mindbogglingly smash records across much of the eastern United States Friday, and some areas have one more day to go with this absolute ridiculousness.

Monthly all time record high temperatures always fall from time to time in various cities, but the sheer number of places that have had their hottest February day on record is just huge.

And some of those records were smashed by wide margins, and/or broken repeatedly over the course of a few days.

I counted at least 30 cities in the Northeast from Ohio to Massachusetts that tied or broke their all time February highs on Friday. That's a big number. That's on top of the dozens of cities, including Burlington and Montpelier, Vermont that set monthly record highs Thursday, or other cities in the Midwest Wednesday.

Some examples of temperatures Friday way far north would not have been the least bit unusual for July, but February. Just wow.

Among them: 74 in Albany, New York, 73 in Boston, and 71 in Buffalo (no lake effect snowstorms there yesterday, that's for sure!)

Other February record highs included 80 in Charleston, West Virginia, 77 in Erie, Pennsylvania and 78 in Cincinnati.

It got up to 107 degrees in southern Texas this week, which I think is a national record for United States's hottest February reading.

Here in Vermont, it cooled slightly in all but extreme southern parts of the state. It got up to 72 degrees in Bennington Friday, but most of the rest of Vermont was in the 40s and 50s.

However, more records will happen today. The warm front passed through Burlington, Vermont on its way north between 5 and 6 a.m this morning. At 5 a.m., it was 37 degrees in Burlington. The temperature jumped, incredibly, a full 18 degrees to 55 by 6 a.m.

That 55 ties the record high for the date in Burlington. We reached it by 6 a.m. Just wild.  r

There's also still an excellent shot at having the all time February high temperatures that were set Thursday in Vermont to be broken today.

For instance, in Burlington, the high reached 63 Thursday and the forecast high today is 65. Montpelier's forecast high of 64 degrees today would beat the February record of 62 set on Thursday.

The February heat isnt the only interesting bit of weather here in New England today. That flood watch is still in effect for good reason, given the fast-melting snow.
A long list of record highs in the East Friday.
Click on the image to make it bigger and easier ro read. 

And that cold front that's coming. You sure will notice when the cold front comes in from the west later today.

The temperature will abruptly tumble, perhaps 20 degrees within an hour. There will also likely be a brief burst of very heavy rain and possibly damaging wind gusts with the arrival of the front.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center actually has all of Vermont in a marginal risk for severe thunderstorms later today.

The SPC actually has southwestern Vermont, and a stripe from eastern New York to Virginia in a slight risk zone for severe storms, which is a step up from marginal, meaning there's a bit of a higher risk of severe storms there than in the marginal risk area.

The Storm Prediction Center even has a very tiny risk of a brief tornado as far north as southwestern Vermont. In February! Don't hold your breath for a tornado because the risk is extremely low, but it could conceivably happen anywhere from  southwestern Vermont all the way south to Virginia.

Still, it' extremely rare to have the Storm Prediction Center hold out the possibility of severe thunderstorms in Vermont in February. This is just amazing.

The timing of the cold front would take it into northern New York mid to late afternoon and Vermont's Champlain Valley late in the afternoon or very early evening, then through the evening in the rest of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Tonight will bring the biggest risk of flooding since the snow will have been melting all day and we'll get that burst of rain this evening. Mainstem rivers like the Mississquoi and Winooski would still be high and/or flooding Sunday morning.

Be careful on those low spots! And don't drive on flooded roads.

Following the front, temperatures will end up at just a little warmer than normal Sunday, then it's back to well above normal temperatures most of next week.

It won't be record warm next week but it will still be awfully mild for the end of February and the beginning of March.

In a subsequent post in the coming couple of days I'll explore whether this heat wave has anything to do with climate change, because I know a lot of people are asking.

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