Busy February Ahead
By Don Day, Jr., Meteorologist
As we leave January and head into February, the weather promises to have a few tricks up its sleeve as a very active pattern is likely coast to coast in the month of February.
After some brutally cold temperatures in the central and eastern areas of the nation in late December and through the middle of January, a nice thaw developed in many areas during the last two weeks of January.
However, trends are developing with the jet stream pattern across the northern hemisphere that suggest February is likely going to be turning colder for the same areas that have enjoyed the recent January thaw.
The last two Februarys (2016, 2017) have been very mild relative to normal. As you can see the graphic below, the last two Februarys have been far from cold for most of North America.
El Nino (warmer Pacific waters) was the main reason the month of February has been warm the last two years. However, here in early 2018 we are in the midst of a La Nina (colder Pacific waters), therefore the odds of us breaking the recent February warm streak are high.
Beef producers, especially those from the High Plains (just east of the Rockies), Plains and Corn Belt should be prepared for plenty of winter weather in February.
Episodes of much colder temperatures and occasional snowfall will be likely right at the beginning of the month and lasting into early March for most in the central and eastern areas of the USA.
Once again, snow could fall as far as the Gulf Coast states (for the third time this season) during the month of February.
As we observed in late December and in January, the far western and southwestern states will likely be spared from the episodes of severe cold and snow, especially along and west of the divide. The exception will be in the far Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest where periods of cold/wet weather will be likely.