Washington experienced more than its typical share of winter cold in February, but snow struggled to keep pace. The average temperature of 37.8 degrees was 1.2 degrees colder than the recent normal (based on average temperatures from 1981 to 2010) and the lowest since 2015.

Since weather records began in 1872 in the District, it marked the 81st coldest February, right in the middle of the pack.

While it was cold, the region avoided the bitter cold that befell Texas and large portions of the central United States.

Snowfall was just 2.8 inches, which was 2.9 inches below normal and the 47th lowest for February on record. Despite the shortfall, Washington reported snowflakes on 12 days (nearly half!) of the month. While snowfall totals were generally light, substantial sleet and freezing rain occurred on several days.

The combination of melted snow and ice, and rain totaled 4.66 inches, 2.04 inches more than normal, marking the 19th wettest February on record.

February extremes

Only one record was broken in the area during the month: Dulles’s 0.57 inches of rain on Presidents’ Day (2/15) besting the old daily record of 0.52 inches from 1992.

Otherwise, here is the range of weather reported in Washington last month:

Winter roundup

The core December to February winter period experienced an average temperature of 39.3 degrees, which was only 1.1 degrees warmer than normal and the chilliest in six years:

Nationally, the coldest weather was in the middle of the United States, because of the February Arctic outbreak:

Washington’s winter rainfall (which includes melted snow and ice) of 11.55 inches was 3.07 inches more than normal and the most since 2019:

The snowfall of only 5.4 inches was 8.2 inches lower than normal.

Here is a roundup of winter temperatures and precipitation relative to normal from the National Weather Service:

How was our forecast for February?

At the end of January, we projected the following:

We’re forecasting near normal temperatures in February, with near to above average precipitation along with near average snowfall. For temperatures, that means an average temperature in the 37 to 41 degree range with highs in the 40s and lows mostly in the 20s and 30s. Apropos to total precipitation, about 2.5 to 3 inches of liquid — although some of it may come down as snow.

February’s average temperature of 37.8 degrees fell right into our predicted range but because of the very wet final weekend of February, total precipitation surged to 4.66 inches, more than our projection. We predicted potentially the snowiest February in six years and that was incorrect as the total of 2.8 inches was lower than 3.7 inches from just two years ago. Overall, we give our outlook a C+.

Look for a more comprehensive assessment of our overall winter outlook from Matt Ross after March.