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February weather much colder, slightly drier than normal

Average high temperature for each day during February was 15.5 degrees

022021 Sundog sunset S1.jpg
Freezing ice crystals make a sundog late Thursday afternoon as the sun sets on a tree line along the train tracks by Nystrom Avenue west of Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The month of February was significantly colder than normal while precipitation totals were slightly less than average in Worthington, according to data compiled at the Worthington Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The average high temperature for each day during February was 15.5 degrees, just a half degree above the coldest average high for the month (15 degrees in 2019). A mid-February stretch during which temperatures remained below zero for five consecutive days contributed to the colder-than-typical average high reading. Specifically, the coldest high temperature for the month was recorded Feb. 15, when the thermometer topped out at minus-13 degrees.

The warmest weather of the month came on both Feb. 24 and Feb. 28, when highs of 44 degrees were each recorded. The average high temperature during February in Worthington, meanwhile, is 28.2 degrees — nearly twice as much as this year’s average reading.

Though February’s highs were much lower than typical, the average low temperature during the month was nowhere near that of February 1979. The average low then was minus-7.5 degrees, compared to the average low of 2.2 degrees this past month.

That’s not to say there weren’t some pretty cold nights in recent weeks. Worthington experienced low temperatures of minus-20 or lower on three consecutive days (Feb. 14-16), with the coldest reading coming on the 15th at minus-24.

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In terms of precipitation, the wastewater plant measured .45 inches of moisture for the month. That’s a bit drier than the .62 inches of precip that’s normal for the community each February. Days that precipitation was measured in Worthington were the 4th (.09), 5th (.13), 8th (.01), 13th (.01), 17th (.05), 18th (0.05), 24th (.05) and 28th (.06), Trace totals were reported on Feb. 2, 6, 12 and 14.

Combined with the 1.03 inches of precipitation measured in January, Worthington now has an accumulation of 1.48 inches for the year, compared to an average of 1.28” total for the two months.

Worthington also measured 4.8 inches of snow in February, a little less than the 6.1-inch average for the month. Snow fell on Feb. 1 (1.0), 8th (.05), 17th (1.0), 18th (1.0), 22nd (1.0) and 28th (.03). Trace amounts were recorded on Feb, 2, 5, 6, 12, 13 and 14.

A total of 17 inches of snow has fallen during the first two months of 2021, compared to the average year-to-date amount of 13.1 inches.

All average totals are according to the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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