February 2020: Mild with less-than-average snowfall
Winter 2020 continued to be kind to southern New Hampshire. After the record breaking snowstorm to start winter, we’ve seen snowfall only intermittently and, since Christmas, temperatures have been milder than normal.
The polar vortex has been reluctant to make southward cycles this year and the resulting westerly flow of Pacific air across the nation has brought mild weather to many areas. Arctic air has been locked up across northern Canada, where a frigid winter has been had in places like Eureka, Northwest Territories.
Snowfall has been above normal along the northern tier of the U.S. this winter with lots of that snow falling during the fall or early portion of the winter. A record-breaking blizzard occurred in late October across the northern Plains, and we had our heavy dose early in December.
Only a short distance to the south, snowfall has been below normal from the Ohio Valley to southern New England. Portions of the Mid-Atlantic have seen just a few flakes in some spots.
Across New England, we’ve seen a snowfall pattern much like last winter with above-normal totals across the north where skiing has been great, but across the southern three New England states, snowfall has been far below normal.
New Hampshire has seen above-normal totals north of the lakes region this winter with snowfall across the far south close to or just a tad below normal so far. We have a few more weeks to add to the totals, and as we all know, March can bring sizable amounts of snow some years.
February was easy to take for Nashua residents with mild temperatures continuing and just a few minor snowfalls. Precipitation averaged close to normal and no major storms were noted with respect to wind or flooding.
One notable event did occur on Feb. 7 with respect to the barometer reading. The barometer fell to a reading of 28.67″ at both the Nashua airport and in Hudson during the passage of a rapidly intensifying storm.
Records of barometer readings are incomplete or of short duration for the local area, but in Boston, the reading of 28.64″ was the second-lowest February reading on record.
The February temperature for Nashua averaged 31.2 degrees, 4.7 degrees above normal. February was the eighth-warmest of record out of 127 years of record. Like January, temperatures were above normal most of the time with cold days brief and not severe for this time of year.
The precipitation total at the Pennichuck Water Works for February was 3.67 inches, 0.31 inches above normal. February ranked at 44th wettest out of the past 137 years. Several moderate precipitation events occurred with rain being the dominant theme.
Snowfall totaled 4.8 inches for Nashua, 8.4 inches below normal, giving us a ranking of 16th least snowy out of 110 years. Snowfall came mostly at the beginning of storms that transitioned to rain with the result being an inch or two on four different occasions.
Seasonal snowfall through the end of February was 40.4 inches, just 3.0 inches less than normal. While January and February have seen lackluster snowfall, December brought a whopping 30 inches.
Official winter is now in the books. The winter of 2018-19 was milder and wetter than normal with normal snowfall.
Meteorological winter is defined as the months of December, January and February. It should be noted that winter weather can and usually does occur outside of meteorological winter as can spring and fall weather outside of meteorological spring and fall. Snowfall is not uncommon anytime from mid-November through early April.
The average winter temperature of 30.2 degrees was 4.0 degrees above normal and ranked in a tie as the fifth-warmest winter out of 126 years of temperature records.
December brought heavy snow, normal temperatures and was the fifth wettest. January was very mild with below normal precipitation and snowfall. February was mild with near normal precipitation and below normal snowfall.
Melted precipitation for winter totaled 13.21 inches, 2.58 inches above normal, making the winter of 2019-20 the 22nd wettest winter out of the past 136 years.
Winter snowfall totaled 40.4 inches, a deficit of just 0.9 inches. This winter ranked as the 52nd least snowy out of 110 years of record.
Astronomical spring or vernal equinox, which begins March 19 this year, has absolutely nothing to do with weather, but rather with the sun making its journey north of the equator for the next six months. Temperatures began their upward swing in late January and have already recovered to mid-November levels by March 19.
The coldest three months by average temperature align much more closely to the calendar months of December, January and February than they do to the astronomical season. Meteorological winter is defined using average temperatures, not the solar calendar.
March can be home to some of the most fickle and extreme weather of the year. Being abnormal is normal during March. No other month brings more potential extremes. Nashua has seen March temperatures soar to near 90 and plummet to nearly -20.
Mid-winter type blizzards, summer heat, strong winds, bitter cold, spring temperatures, flooding, ice storms, rain storms and of course mud season are all possibilities during March. While meteorological winter may be over, the snow season is not and can extend into April and in rare cases into May.
February Facts and Feats Dating Back to 1884
February 2020 Average Temperature
30.2 degrees, 4.7 degrees above normal
2015, 12.4 (Coldest month all-time)
All-time February High
76, Feb.22, 2018
February 2020 High
60, Feb. 25
All-time February Low
35 below (all-time low for Nashua), Feb. 16, 1943
February 2020 Low
2, Feb. 15
February 2020 Precipitation
3.67 inches, 0.31 inches above normal
2020 Annual Precipitation to date
5.70 inches, 1.18 inches below normal
2008, 10.27 inches
1987, 0.07 inches
February 2020 Snowfall
4.8 inches, 8.4 inches below normal
1969, 55.2 inches
2019-20 Season Snowfall
40.4 inches, 3