Hardy souls who shivered and shoveled their way through February in the Northeast now have evidence of just how brutal the weather was, with record cold in at least eight cities and record snowfall in Boston.
“We’re the standout globally,” said Art DeGaetano, director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. “It’s colder in Siberia, but we’re the farthest below normal.”
The climate center shows the New York cities of Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton and Ithaca had their coldest months ever. The average temperature was 10.9 degrees in Buffalo, beating the 1934 record of 11.4. The normal average temperature for February in Buffalo is 26.3.
The monthly average was 9.0 in Syracuse, 12.2 in Binghamton and 10.2 in Ithaca. Syracuse and Ithaca each had 14 days of zero or below temperatures, a February record. The National Weather Service said Rochester also had a record-cold February with an average temperature of 12.2 degrees.
There were also February records elsewhere. Record low average temperatures for the month were set in Hartford, Connecticut, at 16.1; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at 20.9; and Portland, Maine at 13.8. That’s more than 11 degrees below normal for each city. Caribou, Maine’s average February temperature of 2.5 degrees was also a record low, DeGaetano said.
Boston’s 64.8 inches of snow easily beat the city’s old record of 41.6 inches. If the city gets 5.6 more inches before the end of May, it’ll be the snowiest winter on record, DeGaetano said. Through Feb. 26, Boston had 102 inches of snow. Normal is 34 inches.
Providence, Rhode Island, had a February record 31.8 inches of snow, bringing the season’s total to nearly 60 inches, twice the normal amount.
Total snowfall for the season is way above normal across the Northeast, according to the National Weather Service. As of Feb. 26, Worcester, Massachusetts had 108.6 inches, compared to a normal snowfall of 49.9 inches.
So what do we have to thank, or blame, for this frigid February?
“We can’t point to anything specific,” DeGaetano said. “It’s just the way the jet stream bulged and set up. It’s random, like a deal of cards. Sometimes you’re dealt a royal flush, sometimes you get nothing.”