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February 2002 - Report and Summary

by Robert K. Peters, Ph.D. - National Weather Service Cooperating Observer

The month of February 2002 was colder and drier than normal. It was 5.0 deg. colder than February 2001, and 4.59 inches drier. This cool season, in contrast with the 2000-2001 cool season, has been dry. Year-to-date rainfall through the end of February is 9.25 inches less this year than last. Twelve-month precipitation is 49.65 inches, which is 109.7 percent of normal. The thirty-day outlook for February 2002 had called for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.

The week January 27-February 2 saw temperatures seven degrees warmer than normal, and precipitation about three-fourths of normal. The week began seasonably cool under a Polar Maritime air mass, but warmed sharply at mid-week under Tropical Maritime air. Late in the week, an upper air storm crossed, bringing the week's rainfall and introducing modified Arctic air on the 31st. A weak upper air storm began crossing on the 2nd. This increased cloudiness after clear skies from the night of the 31st through mid-day of the 2nd. The average weekly temperature was 56.5 deg., which was 6.8 deg. warmer than the previous week.

The week February 3-9 was about five degrees colder than normal, and rainfall was about twice normal. Arctic air moved into the area on the 4th, and a slow-moving storm crossed on the 5th and 6th. Though the precipitation in Tyler was all rain, to the north of the IH-30 Corridor between three and nine inches of snow fell. A secondary surge of cold air dropped into the region on the 6th behind the storm, further lowering temperatures. The week's average temperature was 45.7 deg., which was 10.8 deg. colder than the previous week.

The week February 10-16 saw temperatures five degrees colder than normal and no rainfall. A series of cold fronts crossed during the week, keeping the area under a cool and very dry air mass. As a result, there was a wide swing between nighttime low and daytime high readings during much of the week. The crossing upper air storms all had inadequate moisture with which to work, and so there was no rain. The week's average temperature was 46.9 deg., which was 1.2 deg. warmer than the previous week.

The week February 17-23 saw temperatures one degree warmer than normal, and rainfall about 80 percent of normal. Two upper air storms crossed during the week: one on the 19th and a second on the 21st. The second storm was quite weak, and only light rain occurred. Temperatures warmed early in the week as modified Polar Continental air moved eastward, and was replaced by Tropical Maritime air on the 18th and 19th. Polar Maritime air arrived behind the front of the 19th, with modified Polar Continental air back on the 21st. The air masses early and late in the week were very dry. This resulted in cool nighttime but warm daytime temperatures. The week's average temperature was 55.7 deg., which was 8.8 degrees warmer than the previous week.

The last five days of the month started warm, but turned very cold with the invasion of Arctic air on the 25th. Hard freezes occurred on the mornings of the 26th, 27th, and 28th, and low temperature records were broken or tied on the 27th and 28th. Strong winds which blew from the evening of the 25th through the evening of the 26th lowered wind chill equivalent temperatures into the teens.

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.

February 2002



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