February is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.
Especially on Valentine’s Day.
We tweaked the famous line from the 1994 “Forrest Gump” movie to illustrate an interesting point about this time of year.
February is a bridge from winter to early spring, and the month typically runs just 28 days. This means Feb. 14 is parked smack in the middle. In terms of weather, sometimes it delivers sweet treats; other times, bitter surprises.
Last year, Valentine’s Day occurred during a remarkable streak of late winter cold and snow that ran through the month and into early March. On Feb. 14, 1.5inches of snow fell in the Spokane area, accompanied by a high of 33 degrees and a low of 15. Overall, the day ran 9 degrees below normal.
But 2018 was particularly hard-core. February’s first half brought temperatures mild enough to lure us into thinking that winter was over. Then came Valentine’s Day, when the Spokane National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning early that morning. Motorists trying to get to the florist or make dinner reservations confronted 7.3 inches of snowfall, shattering the record of 4 inches set in 1923.
By contrast, Valentine’s Day in 2016 and 2015 were pleasant. Boots weren’t necessary, as no snow was on the ground. High temperatures ran in the upper 40s, nearly 10 degrees above normal for that date.
The mildest Valentine’s Day recorded was in 1924 when temperatures climbed to 55 degrees. The coldest recorded temperature was minus 12 degrees in 1884.
The most snow on the ground was 19 inches in 1969.
The first Valentine’s Day of the new decade? Perhaps it will warm your heart a bit. Expect conditions to be dry and warmer than normal, with a high of 43degrees and a low of 31.
But don’t get too comfortable, because Saturday is expected to bring a mix of rain and snow. As we press into February’s second half and experience more days of wintry weather, remind yourself that spring is only four weeks away.
Nic Loyd is a meteorologist in Washington state. Linda Weiford is a writer in Moscow, Idaho, who’s also a weather geek. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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