NORMAN — Merely looking at the temperature statistics for February would lead one to believe it was a frigid, wintry nightmare from beginning to end. After all, preliminary statistics from the Oklahoma Mesonet indicate that February finished nearly six degrees cooler than normal statewide with an average temperature of 36 degrees — the 15th coolest February for the state since records began in 1895.
Most of that cold weather occurred during the month’s first dozen days, however, setting a standard that occasional near- to above-normal temperatures throughout the rest of the month could not overcome.
February combined with a frosty December and cool January to produce the 12th coldest winter on record in Oklahoma. Climatological winter runs from the first of December through the end of February. The winter’s statewide average temperature of 35.5 degrees fell 3.3 degrees below normal.
Oklahoma’s coldest winter occurred in 1904-05 with a statewide average of 31.1 degrees. February’s lowest temperature of minus 2 degrees was recorded on the fifth at both Beaver and Boise City. Boise City only reached a high of 6 degrees that day and, at one point, registered a wind chill of minus 25.
Hollis managed to climb to 84 degrees on the 18th during a stretch of unseasonable warmth.
The lowest winter temperature recorded by the Mesonet was minus 12 at Nowata on Jan. 6.
Unfortunately, there were no extended wet periods during February, as dry weather dominated that side of the storyline, although a couple of winter storms broke up the monotony. The month’s first day saw four to six inches of snow fall across southern Oklahoma and some unofficial totals of more than eight inches reported in the southwest.
Northwestern Oklahoma got into the act just a few days later with reports of five to six inches in some locations. Regardless of those brief storms, the state remained dry for the most part. The statewide average precipitation total from the Mesonet finished at 0.51 inches, the 16th driest February on record at 1.25 inches below normal.