Weather Blog

It's been a while since we've had a big February snow

It's been a while since we've had a big February snow
Snow in Bellingham.... in January.
February is technically the "August of winter" as far as where it sits in its relative seasonal calendar, but while many a heat wave can be found in August, arctic outbreaks and snowstorms seem to have passed on this month lately.

But Seattle's history is littered with February snows. Jason Phelps, a local climate stat-head, has this to say about Seattle snows this time of year:

"It is interesting to note that it has been a while since there's been a big February snowstorm. 2009/10 winter was mild. 2008/09 while there was some snow in February, the biggest snows were in December, early January, and March," he says. "2007/08 winter biggest snows were in January and March, but not as much in February. 2006/07 winter significants snows in November, late December, and mid-January. However, the one snow that came tail end of February/1st of March was very whimpy. 2005/06 winter significant foothill snow end of November/early December. 2004/05 winter was mild. 2003/04 winter significant foothill snow in November, significant late December/early January snow."

He adds that the winter of 2002-03 was mild while in '01-02 the biggest snows were in January and March, but not February.

"The last time there was a real significant snow in February was the 2000/01 winter, 10 years ago!!!" he said.

However, he says if you look at how often we normally get significant snow in February, it's much more often than every 10 years.

Here is his list of previous February snows: "2001, 1994 (8-10" in some foothill places), 1990, 1989 (big early Feb. snow and early Mar. snows), 1986, 1985, 1980, 1976, 1972, 1969, 1963, 1962, 1956, 1955, 1951, 1950, 1949, etc. It even snowed 16 inches on Valentines' Day in 1923. Also 1916 had a Ground Hog's Day snow of 26.5"! In 1884 there was a foot of snow on February 20 as well. And I guess the 10" of snow March 1st/2nd, 1989 came a day late :)

"We are well overdue for a big February snow event!"

Guess we'll see how it plays out. One thing is known, while there may have been a foot of snow on Feb. 20 in 1884, at least for Sea-Tac Airport, there are two dates this week when it has never snowed: Feb. 21 and 25.