Publication Date March 6, 2018

Record warmth in February 2018

United States
High temperatures across the United States on February 21, 2018 according to data from NOAA's Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA). Summer-like temperatures were observed across the eastern United States, while the western half of the country observed below-average temperatures. Image: NOAA, with data provided by NOAA's Environmental Visualization Lab, based on NOAA RTMA data

For two days in late February 2018, temperatures soared across the eastern United States to reach heights that might have reminded residents of early summer. Even though temperatures returned to normal soon thereafter, the early heat won’t be forgotten as numerous daily and monthly records were set up and down the eastern seaboard.

Temperatures—both daytime highs and overnight lows—were well above average on February 20 and 21 across the eastern United States as warm air funneled in from much farther south.

On February 20, all-time February high temperature records were set in Pittsburgh; Indianapolis; Charleston, West Virginia; and Cincinnati as daily highs reached the upper 70s (80°F in Charleston). Each of those locations have records that go back to the late 1800s.

The same day also saw record high low temperatures set. For instance, it only fell to 66°F in Louisville, Kentucky, and 54°F in Rochester, New York—4 degrees warmer than the previous record. Meanwhile Lexington, Kentucky, set a new February record when the low only reached 62°F, breaking a monthly record set only six days previously.