Feb 14, 2017

This is February? 80°F in Denver, 99° in Oklahoma, 66° in Iceland, 116° in Australia

DFW Airport, Grapevine, TX
USA
by
Bob Henson
,
Category 6
An index of the seasonal progress of leafy plants shows conditions 20 days or more ahead of schedule over large parts of the South and Southwest as of Sunday, February 12. Image: USA National Phenology Network via @TheresaCrimmins
An index of the seasonal progress of leafy plants shows conditions 20 days or more ahead of schedule over large parts of the South and Southwest as of Sunday, February 12. Image: USA National Phenology Network via @TheresaCrimmins

The strong, recurrent Pacific jet stream that’s been delivering massive amounts of rain to California has also been pushing mild Pacific air downslope off the Rockies and eastward, keeping the southern two-thirds of the U.S. absurdly warm for early February. From New Mexico to Virginia southward to the Gulf Coast, trees and shrubs are budding out en masse up to three weeks ahead of schedule (see Figure). In Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth recorded its last freezing temperature on January 8. With no freezes expected into at least the last week of the month, there’s a chance that the Jan. 8 reading of 20°F will be DFW’s last freeze of the winter. That would eclipse the earliest final freeze of the season (Feb. 5, 2000), in records extending back to 1899. The February warmth comes after a three-month span that was milder in Texas than any Nov/Dec/Jan period since the 1930s Dust Bowl, according to state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon.