by Robert K. Peters, Ph.D. - National Weather Service Cooperating Observer
The month of February 2004 was much cooler and much wetter than normal. It also saw the first significant snowfall in East Texas since December 31, 2000, with 3.0 inches falling in Tyler on the 14th. Compared with the same month in 2003, the month was 0.8 deg. cooler, and 1.45 inches drier. Year-to-date rainfall through the end of the month was 0.89 inch greater in 2004 than in 2003. During the past twelve months, precipitation has been about 92 percent of normal, reflecting the dry period between early- September and late-January. The 30-day outlook for February 2004 had called for near normal temperatures and near normal precipitation--and was wrong.
The week February 1-7 saw temperatures 8 deg. colder than normal, and rainfall about 225 percent of normal. Two storms and their associated cold fronts crossed during the week. The first was on the 1st, and the second on the 4th. Both storms brought significant rainfall, with the second bring more. Amounts with the first storm averaged between one-half inch and one inch, while the second storm brought rains of between one-half inch and four inches. In both instances, the heavier rains were over the East Texas Lakes Country. A few occurrences of severe weather accompanied the second storm--on the night of the 4th to the south of Tyler. The cold front of the 5th was reinforced on the 7th by more Arctic air. The week's average temperature was 42.4 deg., and rainfall was 2.02 inches. The week was 3.1 deg. colder than the previous week. Compared with the same week in 2003, the week was 3.6 deg. colder, and 1.00 inch wetter.
The week February 8-14 was the coldest week of the Winter season, with temperatures averaging 11 deg. below normal and precipitation about twice normal. The week brought 3.0 inches of snow to Tyler on the 14th. Two storm systems crossed during the week. The first brought general rains to the area between the 10th and 12th. The second brought the winter precipitation on the 13th and 14th. Throughout the week, modified Polar Continental or Arctic air was over the region. The week's average temperature was 40.2 deg., and precipitation was 1.85 inches. This was 2.2 deg. colder than the previous week. Compared with the same week in 2003, the week was 13.2 deg. colder and 0.57 inch wetter.
The week February 15-21 saw temperatures about 1 deg. cooler than normal, and rainfall about 5 percent of normal. The week warmed. Two cold fronts crossed during the week, but both of these--on the 17th and 20th--were weak. The Arctic air mass was replaced by Polar Maritime air for most of the week, with Tropical Maritime air on the 19th. The string of 21 consecutive days of below normal temperatures--which began on January 27--was broken with near normal temperatures on the 17th and 18th. On the 19th and 20th, readings were actually several degrees above normal. The week's only precipitation came on the morning of the 17th with the first cold front. The week's average temperature was 53.2 deg., and precipitation was 0.05 inch. The week was 13.0 warmer than the previous week. Compared with the same week in 2003, the week was 4.8 deg. warmer, and 3.23 inches drier.
The week February 22-28 saw temperatures 6 deg. colder than normal, and rainfall about 115 percent of normal. A wet storm crossed between the 23rd and 27th, bringing general rains to the region. These amounts ranged from about one inch in the northwest to as much as four inches in the southeast. The rain was accompanied by cold temperatures, as a shallow cold air layer was first overrun by a moist air flow from the Gulf of Mexico, and then reinforced on the 25th. Polar Continental air built into the region behind the front of the 25th, which began to modify on the 28th as moist air returned ahead of the next storm system. The week's average temperature was 49.3 deg., and rainfall was 1.20 inches. The week was 3.9 deg. colder than the previous week. Compared with the same week in 2003, the week was 9.5 deg. warmer, and 0.21 inch wetter.
A storm system crossed on the 29th, bringing general and locally heavy rainfall to the area.
The reporting period for temperatures and phenomenon on each day is for the twenty-four hours ending at midnight hours GMT--6 p.m. CST and 7 p.m. CDT. The reporting period for precipitation is for the twenty-four hours ending at noon GMT--6 a.m. CST and 7 a.m. CDT. All times are given using the twenty-four hour clock, and are expressed in Greenwich Mean Time.
Observations are from NWS Station 41/9207/4 in Tyler, Texas. The term "normal" refers to averages from the standard climatic period 1971-2000.
MX MN OBS PCPN REMARKS
February 2004, RECORDS AND SUMMARY: