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February has arrived! We take a look back at January rainfall and a look at February "averages".


January ended up being at least within a stone's throw of being "normal" in terms of precipitation across the Tennessee Valley. The latest rainfall stats from the climate/weather reporting station at the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport in Muscle Shoals shows that we got just shy of 6.5" of rain for the month, which put us 1.75" above what we consider a climate average for the area for the month of January. Most folks across our viewing area saw between 3.6" and 6" of rain for the month. Those that saw under 4 inches ended up seeing less than 75% of what is considered normal, but most of us were either only very slightly below average or a bit above in some cases. The official Drought Monitor gets updated again this Thursday, but the latest update we have keeps our viewing area out of any drought classifications. However, drier conditions aren't too far away, back in north and central Mississippi.


Now that we have begin February, many folks may be wondering what the weather usually brings to our area this time of the year. The overall answer is that things aren't a whole lot different from January in terms of our climatological averages here in the Tennessee Valley. February is still an overall wet and cool month here on average. The main difference is that average temperatures do start creeping up as we steadily gain more and more daylight and we gradually head toward spring. Our average daytime high for the month comes out around 55 degrees, but those average highs start in the lower 50s at the beginning of the month before winding up at almost 60 degrees by February 28th. We certainly know this is only an "average" though, and this does not show the extremes we can sometimes see. Our record monthly high for February is 83 degrees, set in 2012; and our record monthly low was set in 1905, at a bone-chilling -13 degrees!


As we mentioned, February is one of our wetter months across the Tennessee Valley. Our normal monthly precipitation usually comes in at 4.66", but we have a long-standing history of double digit rainfall events and flooding events here in the area in the month of February over the years. We also average an inch of snow, but just last year served as a good reminder that we are no stranger to major snow and ice events here during the month of February.


We are also no stranger to severe storms and tornadoes in the Tennessee Valley during the month of February either, and sometimes those tornadoes can be just as large and violent as they are in the heart of spring. February 5-6, 2008 serves as a reminder of how intense severe weather events can be, with two separate EF4 tornadoes in our core viewing area counties... one in Hardin County, TN and another in Lawrence County, AL. We begin the tick upward in tornado counts for the area in February, before the numbers really rocket upward for March, April, and May. Our local National Weather Service offices, state and local EMA offices, and government groups usually hold the yearly Severe Weather Awareness campaigns in February, as this is right before the heart of the primary spring severe weather season. This often includes tax-free weekends or days during those specific weeks to help encourage you to get the supplies and preparedness items you need to be ready for dangerous weather.

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