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Weather roundup: Buffalo's February was one for the record books

Temperature

February 2017 was the warmest February recorded in Buffalo.

The average temperature for the month was 34.8 degrees.

It broke the all-time mark for warmest February set in 1998 by 0.7 degrees.

Iced drinks and short sleeves were in order on Feb. 24 with temperatures of more than 70 degrees. Glen Park in Williamsville was filled with people enjoying the day, including Mel Rupp, of the Town of Tonawanda and his girlfriend, Tia Federice, of Amherst. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Highs and Lows

HIGH: 71 degrees, Feb. 24.

LOW: 14 degrees, Feb. 3.

Monthly Averages for February

HIGH: 42.7 degrees (9.4 degrees above normal). Last year: 37.7 degrees.

LOW: 27.0 degrees (7.8 degrees above normal). Last year: 21.7 degrees.

MEAN: 34.8 degrees [Record], (8.5 degrees above normal). Last year: 29.7 degrees.

Daily highs

20s: 4 days // 30s: 10 days // 40s: 5 days // 50s: 6 days // 60s: 2 days // 70s: 1 day

Records

  • Feb. 24. High temperature of 71 degrees broke a 111-year-old record for the date. The former record was 67 degrees, set in 1906.
  • Feb. 24 also tied Feb. 26, 2000, for an all-time highest temperature mark in Buffalo during any month of February.
  • Feb. 25. High temperature of 65 degrees breaking the former mark of 63 degrees set in 1957.

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Snowfall

Only five inches of snow was logged during February at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. That tied 1981 for the fifth least snowiest February in Buffalo's weather history.

It was about a foot less than the average February for snowfall.

Fresh snow and blue skies in Orchard Park on Feb. 15. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

With the lower snowfall amounts, there was also less snow pack.

For 55 of the first 59 days of 2017, there were two inches or less snow on the ground at the Buffalo airport. That's third on the all-time list for least snow pack since records started at the airport during World War II.

There's been 2 inches or less of snow on the ground for more than 90 percent of January and February in Buffalo. That's third on the all-time list for least snow pack at the Buffalo airport. (xmACIS2)

Total February Snowfall: 5.0 inches, (12.3 inches below normal).

Daily high: 1.2 inches, Feb. 10.

Historical record: 54.2 inches, Feb. 1958.

30-year average: 17.3 inches.

February 2016: 20.5 inches.

February 2015: 46.2 inches.

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Lake Erie

February's warm temperatures kept Lake Erie almost entirely free of ice. The water temperature at Buffalo remained above the freezing mark for the entire month. It even gained a couple of degrees later in the month with a weeklong streak of above-normal temperatures to finish February at its highest reading -- 35  degrees -- for the month's final five days.

On-the-water frolic is usually not a February activity in Buffalo. But, Ryan McGraw of Amherst takes advantage of abnormally warm temperatures and high wind to do some kite surfing on the open waters of the Outer Harbor on Feb. 18, 2017. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Temperature

Feb. 1: 34 degrees / Feb. 28: 35 degrees

Highest temperature: 35 degrees, Feb. 24-28. (Historical High: 37 degrees, Feb. 2-3 and 6-7, 2012 and Feb. 9, 2016)

Lowest temperature: 33 degrees, Feb. 3-20.

Average temperature: 33.5 degrees

Ice Cover

Feb. 1: 2.35 percent (normal 56.35 percent) // Feb. 28: 0.00 percent (normal 61.88 percent)

Highest percentage: 35.52 percent, Feb. 8

Lowest percentage: 0.00 percent, Feb. 27-28

Average percentage in 2017: 6.05 percent

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Three other interesting facts from February 2017:

  • The warmest February in the Buffalo weather record books is now just two years removed from the coldest February ever. February 2015 finished with a 10.9 degree average. At no point during the month the did the temperature that year ever make it above the freezing point. And, it's not only still a record for the coldest February in Buffalo, but the coldest month ever in the city's history.
  • For only the third time in the city's history, the temperature reached 70 degrees during February. That happened on Feb. 24 when it reached the record 71 degrees. The other two were Feb. 26, 2000, when it also reached 71 degrees and Feb. 21, 1997, when it hit 70 degrees.
  • February 2017 was the 17th month out of the last 18 months in Buffalo when the average temperature has run above-normal. The only below-normal month dating back to August 2015, was last April. Here's a look:

Sources: National Weather Service, Buffalo; Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

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