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February outlook calls for more winter warmth

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Posted at 8:40 PM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 20:40:53-05

This is the time of year most of us are ready to be done with the cold, snow and cloudy days. Winter can seem to drag on in Central Indiana, but this time around we haven't had much to complain about. Can we largely escape winter? There's certainly still time to get snow storms and bitterly cold wind chills, but climatology is working in our favor. We're now into the time of year where our average temperatures are on the rise.

Before we dive into the February weather outlook, let's take a quick look back at January. There was nothing typical about it. The month featured more "warm" days than cold ones. We failed to reach our average high just seven times during the month. We even made it into the 60s on the 11th.

With the warmer pattern, it's no surprise we fell way short on snowfall. Just three tenths of an inch of snow fell in Indy, in what's typically our snowiest month of the year. Only seven other times have we had less snow in January.

Will the trend of winter warmth continue? The February outlook from the Climate Prediction Center suggests it certainly could. Most of Indiana falls in the near to above average temperature category.

The month is already off to a mild start with several days topping out with highs in the 50s. That's 15-20 degrees above average! A large trough is expected to bring those numbers closer to February standards to round out the first week of the month. However, as we saw in January, temperatures can bounce back quickly. We should see highs above average again, before we reach the middle of the month. While we're likely to see some ups and downs, a couple of the global weather patterns considered in the outlook would favor a return to above average temperatures later in the month.

Officially, Indiana falls in the "Equal Chances" category in the precipitation outlook. This means there's no strong signal to indicate precipitation being above or below average.

I wouldn't be surprised if we end up above average for precipitation in February though. It already looks like we have a few weather systems coming our way through the first half of the month. A couple of those could produce decent doses of precipitation. February is typically a dry month for us. In our current pattern, picking up more than 2.32" (in liquid form) isn't all that difficult to do. Snow is likely to be more difficult to come by with the overall warmer temperatures.