* 10th driest February on record at San Angelo *
Precipitation was below normal across all of west-central Texas in February, most noteably across the southern half of the region. Where the monthly precipitation was less than 25 percent of normal (Figure 1), the amounts were less than one half inch (Figure 2).
Figure 1: Percent of normal precipitation for February.
Figure 2: Total precipitation for February.
Temperatures averaged below normal for the month.
At Abilene Regional Airport, the average temperature for February was 44.7 degrees. This was 3.9 degrees below the normal average temperature of 48.6 degrees. Total precipitation for Abilene in February was 0.49 inches. This was 0.87 inches below the normal of 1.36 inches.
At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average temperature for February was 49.4 degrees. This was 0.9 degrees below the normal average temperature of 50.3 degrees. Total precipitation for San Angelo was 0.06 inches. This was 1.29 inches below the normal of 1.35 inches. This ranks as the 10th driest February on record for San Angelo.
Total snowfall for February was 1.8 inches at Abilene and 0.1 inches at San Angelo.
The pattern was active during the early part of the month with winter weather and intrusions of very cold air.
Following a strong cold frontal passage on the 1st, much colder air invaded the region. A strong upper level disturbance entered the region and interacted with the cold air, bringing mixed winter precipitation to the northern half of West Central Texas on the 2nd. The highest impacts from this event occurred across the Big Country area along and and north of Interstate 20, where travel conditions became very hazardous. Heavy snow occurred across the northwestern Big country in parts of Fisher, Haskell and northwestern Jones Counties. A mix of snow and sleet affected the area from Sweetwater northeast to Anson and Throckmorton. Snow, sleet and freezing rain all occurred in Taylor County, including the Abilene area. For the southeastern Big Country from Albany south to Baird, a mix of sleet and freezing rain occurred. Farther to the south, light freezing rain occurred across the Concho Valley and northern Heartland areas. Figure 2 shows the accumulations of snow, sleet, and freezing rain from this event.
Figure 2: Accumulations of snow, sleet, and freezing rain from the winter weather event on February 2.
The cold airmass remainded over West Central Texas on the 3rd. After a brief warmup on the 4th, a strong cold front advanced south across West Central Texas. In the wake of this frontal passage, temperatures were very cold on the 5th, and were accompanied by brisk north to northeast winds. This lowered wind chill values into the single digits across the Big Country and teens across the Concho Valley and Heartland.
With the approach of an upper level disturbance, light snow occurred during the post-Midnight hours of the 6th, across roughly the northwestern half of West Central Texas, mainly northwest of an Ozona to San Angelo to Cross Plains line. Snowfall amounts of generally 1-2 inches occurred across the Big Country along and north of Interstate 20. A dusting (less than one inch) occurred south to the San Angelo and Brownwood areas, while a few snow flurries occurred farther to the south. The rather cold airmass remained over West Central Texas on the 6th. Highs ranged from 15-20 degrees across the Big Country, to 25-30 degrees along the Interstate 10 corridor. Record low maximum temperatures were set at Abilene (16 degrees) and tied at San Angelo (24 degrees) on the 6th.
A rapid warmup occurred on the 8th, when temperatures reached the upper 60s to mid 70s for highs.
On the 9th, another strong cold front moved south into West Central Texas. There was a large temperature contrast, as this front moved across the Big Country during the day. Temperatures were warm ahead of this front, and had fallen behind it. Mid-afternoon temperatures ranged from the mid 30s across Haskell and Throckmorton Counties, to near 80 in parts of central and southern sections of West Central Texas. The cold front advanced south through the rest of the region during the afternoon and evening, with much colder air following its passage. Areas of drizzle and fog initially developed during the post-Midnight hours of the 10th, and became freezing drizzle and freezing fog as temperatures dropped below freezing. A prolonged period of freezing drizzle on the 10th and 11th, combined with temperatures several degrees below freezing, resulted in extensive icing (thin glaze) on roads across the Big Country, Concho Valley and Heartland areas. With these road conditions, mumerous traffic accidents were reported. A record low maximum temperature was set at San Angelo on the 11th.
Temperatures quickly moderated on the 12th, followed by much warmer (spring-like) temperatures and rather dry conditions during the middle of the month. This was brought about by a significant change in the upper level flow pattern, where intrusions of arctic airmasses south into the United States were reduced to a considerable extent. Highs were in the 70s and 80s across West Central texas on most of the days, interspersed with a few fairly weak cold frontal passages. The combination of rather dry air and generally clear skies allowed for large temperature swings between the daytime highs and nighttime lows (more than 35 degrees) on a number of days.
Late in the month, a strong cold front advanced south across West Central Texas on the 25th. bringing much colder air to the region. As a weak upper level disturbance entered the area, a few light rain showers occurred. Rainfall amounts were mostly less than one tenth of an inch, with widely scattered locations receiving one tenth to one quarter of an inch. Highs on the 26th were mostly in the 40s, with early morning lows on the 26th mostly in the upper teens to mid 20s.
Temperatures quickly moderated at the end of the month. Warm, very dry and windy conditions occurred on the 28th, as a dryline advanced east across West Central Texas. Gusty west winds followed passage of the dryline, and resulted in blowing dust across the Big Country (area along and north of Interstate 20). A peak wind gust of 46 mph was recorded at the Abilene Regional Airport. Highs were mostly in the 80-85 degree range. With this combination of weather conditions, a wind-drive grass fire occurred in eastern Nolan County.