The Alabama Climate Report

Brought to you by the Office of the Alabama
Climatologist

Volume 12, Number 11 - February 2021

February was cold and mostly dry. The drier than normal conditions have been the theme for this winter. This is a stark contrast to last year’s record-breaking wetter than normal winter. Statewide, it was the 23rd driest winter on record. However, several counties in south-central Alabama had their top 10 driest winter with Wilcox County recording their 2nd driest winter on record (missing out on the record by -0.71 inches). In terms of the month of February, it was slightly drier than normal by 0.91 inches statewide with the driest counties located in the south-central region of Alabama.

Statewide, the Montgomery area and counties in the east-central part of Alabama were warmer than normal in February while the rest of the state was cooler than normal, especially along the Alabama-Mississippi border and the Northern counties. Most of the state experienced a particularly cold arctic air mass from February 12th to 20th, with several stations recording single digit overnight temperatures including a station in Addison with the lowest temperature of the month at 5°F. In contrast, during the last week of February, Alabama saw temperatures soar into the 70s and 80s across most the state, where a station in Midway recorded the highest temperature of the month at 86°F.

With the cold arctic airmass, a combination of sleet/ice/snow accumulated in parts of northern and western Alabama on February 14th -15th and February 17th-18th. The sleet/ice impacted most of northwestern and western Alabama in the first bout of winter weather, causing widespread hazardous travel. The second bout of winter weather was mainly sleet/snow and resulted in widespread accumulations of over an inch across northwestern and northern Alabama, primarily, with isolated values as high as 6.0 inches recorded at the Florence 5.4 E station on February 18th. This second round of winter weather broke the streak of 747 days since the last Winter Storm Warning was issued by both the Huntsville Warning Forecast Office (WFO) and Birmingham WFO.

March marks the beginning of climatological spring and the peak months of tornado season (March, April, and May) for Alabama. This is a good time to take a few moments to review your own severe weather plans. Identify your safest shelter. Put together an emergency kit, with supplies to last at least three days. For more information on how to prepare for severe weather, visit ready.gov.

- John Christy
The Alabama State Climatologist