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Northeast Overview - February 2013

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Preliminary data indicates that the average temperature for February in the Northeast was neither above nor below normal: at 26.4 degrees F (-3.1 degrees C), it was exactly normal. Seven states were cooler than average with departures ranging from -1.9 degrees F (-1.1 degrees C) in West Virginia to -0.2 degrees F (-0.1 degrees C) in Connecticut. Of the five warm states, three ranked February 2013 in their top 25 warmest: Maine, 15th and New Hampshire and Vermont, 22nd. Departures among the warm states ranged from +0.3 degrees F (+0.2 degrees C) in Massachusetts to +3.2 degrees F (+1.8 degrees C) in Maine. For Winter 2012-13, the Northeast's average temperature of 28.8 degrees F (-1.8 degrees C) was 2.6 degrees F (1.4 degrees C) above average making it the 16th warmest winter in 118 years. Despite the mixed temperatures of February, winter ranked as one of the top 25 warmest in all states. Departures ranged from +2.1 degrees F (+1.2 degrees C) in Connecticut to +3.9 degrees F (+2.2 degrees C) in Delaware.

Total precipitation in the Northeast was down in February. The 2.56 inches (65.02 mm) of precipitation was 0.14 inches (3.56 mm) below average and 94 percent of normal. The states were split with six drier than normal and six wetter than normal. In terms of percent of normal, West Virginia was the driest state at 57 percent, making it their 16th driest February on record. Of the other dry states departures ranged from 69 percent of normal in Vermont, their 26th driest, to 98 percent of normal in New Hampshire. Rhode Island was the wettest state at 174 percent of normal, making it their 3rd wettest February. Departures for the other wet states were from 113 percent of normal in Connecticut to 139 percent of normal in Massachusetts, their 8th wettest. As for Winter 2012-13, the Northeast received 10.37 inches (263.4 mm) of precipitation (113 percent of normal). Eight states ended up wetter than average while four states reported drier than normal winters. Of the eight wet states, four ranked this winter as one of their 25 wettest: Pennsylvania, 19th; New York, 21st; New Jersey, 22nd; and Rhode Island, 23rd. Departures for the wet states ranged from 105 percent of normal in Delaware and Massachusetts to 122 percent of normal in New Jersey. For the dry states departures ranged from 86 percent of normal in Connecticut to 99 percent of normal in New Hampshire.

A clipper system and coastal storm merged to create blizzard conditions in parts of the Northeast from the 8th through 9th. The storm dumped record-setting snowfall from New York to Maine. The highest snowfall total of 40 inches (101.6 cm) was reported in Hamden, CT. Strong winds (a gust of 83 mph (37 m/s) was reported in Falmouth, MA) brought whiteout conditions to much of New England and whipped up waves that carved a 1,600-foot-wide (487.68 m) hole in the barrier beach near Chatham, MA. In New York, the storm left more than a hundred cars stranded along the Long Island Expressway while in Connecticut there were reports of over a dozen collapsed roofs due to the snow. The storm left some 650,000 customers without power and resulted in a dozen deaths. At the end of the month, a potent storm brought a mix of precipitation to the Northeast. Up to 19 inches (48.26 cm) of snow was reported in southwestern Vermont while 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) of ice accumulated in northwestern New Jersey and nearly 2.00 inches (50.8 mm) of rain fell in eastern New York. The storm set precipitation records at eleven climate sites.