February finished off warm, wet for Cleveland and Akron, pattern likely to continue throughout March, says NOAA

March 2, 2018 GMT

February finished off warm, wet for Cleveland and Akron, pattern likely to continue throughout March, says NOAA

CLEVELAND, Ohio – After a brutally cold start to February for both Cleveland and Akron, the recent warm-up pushed the cities up over average for temperature for the month. Overall, there was plenty of rain, and not a lot of snow.

February 2018 wrap-up

Cleveland’s average high temperature in February topped 44 degrees, a noticeable difference from the normal high of just 37.5 degrees. Both the mean daily average and the average low topped normal values as well, 5.5 and 4.3 degrees warmer, respectively.

Akron was even further from normal. The average high reached over 45 degrees, 9 degrees warmer than average. The mean daily average and average low temperatures were over 7 and 5 degrees warmer than a typical February.

Many days of strong winds, with a southerly component, created a river of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico in the latter part of February -- a big contrast from the first week, with lows in the teens.

Ohio’s terrain is flat, meaning anytime winds shift, it’s easy for large intrusions of cold air from the north, or warm air from the south.

During the week when Clevelanders were bundled up in parkas and snow boots, Ohio was in the jet stream curve that blew in that arctic air, kick-starting lake effect. But with the eventual warm-up, the lake-effect snow stopped, and made snow amounts overall below average, at least in Cleveland.

As a result, Cleveland finished off with a mere 7.1 inches of snow, 7.8 inches less than normal. But it was only lake-effect snow that was lacking. Akron actually saw just over an inch more snow than a normal February.

Total precipitation, which weighs rain at a roughly 10 to 1 ratio over snow, finished above normal for both cities, aided by the currently weakening La Niña, which typically brings wetter conditions to the northern states.

March 2018 outlook

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration thinks this warmer, wet pattern will continue in March. Most of the Buckeye state is under a 33- to 40-percent chance of an above-normal average March temperature, with the same ahead in terms of precipitation.

For Cleveland, that means likely warmer temperatures than the normal March high of 46.6 degrees, average temperature of 38.4 degrees, and normal low temperature of 30.2 degrees. Precipitation is normally 2.93 inches with 12.6 inches of snow.

In Akron, March highs normally run around 46.6 degrees also, with an average temperature of 37.6 degrees and normal low of 28.5 degrees. Precipitation runs around 2.98 inches, with typically 8.2 inches of snow.

Chance of above or below the March average temperature

Chance of above or below the March average precipitation

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Kelly Reardon is cleveland.com’s meteorologist. Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter @KellyRWeather and Instagram.