February 2010: A look back

In Philadelphia, February established snow standards unprecedented in the period of record, dating to the winter of 1884-85, and which might not be equaled in the lifetimes of your great-, great-, great-granchildren.

As we've reported, the official Philadelphia International Airport/National Park, N.J., total of 55.1 was greater than the entire-seasonal totals in all but three winters. It out-snowed the previous snowiest month, January 1996, by 21.3 inches.

The two mega-storms -- 28.5 inches on Feb. 5-6, and 15.8 on Feb. 9-10 -- represented more snow than had fallen in all but six previous winters. The 5.6 inches of Feb. 25-26 might have constituted an actual storm in other winters.

Measurable snow fell on 10 different dates, and snow was reported on the ground on 22 of the 28 days.

Temperatures were prosaic, averaging 3 degrees below normal in Philly. It never got above 46, or below 13. 

During the month, a vigorous El Nino-juiced storm track interacted with generally chilly air to the north. All that cool air probably contributed to a February oddity across the nation, in the view of Accu-Weather's Henry Margusity.

Not a single tornado was detected anywhere in the nation in February, he noted -- the first time that's happened since at least 1950.

As if to compensate for all the inconvenience, February departed on a spectacular note last night, treating the region to an unsual alignment of circumstances: A full moon beaming over a snow cover.

Tonight might be the last chance to see it again for awhile, if you have some snow left. It's tought to get a full moon, a clear sky and snowpack to show up on the same night around here.

The next full moon, at the end of the month, is likely to be shining on blossoms.