AgWeatherNet Winter 2013/2014 Weather Review for Washington

The Second Arctic Blast of the Winter Occurs in Early February

Nic Loyd, Meteorologist, 509-786-9357
Gerrit Hoogenboom, Director, 509-786-9371

Overview
It's about time. That tiny phrase has been a common sentiment among Washingtonians in the aftermath of a February during which the state experienced a significant recovery in the mountain snowpack. After a disappointing and relatively inactive fall and early winter, Mother Nature finally began to repay the snow debt owed to the Cascades. A very stormy mid February time period brought copious amounts of critically needed snowfall to the mountains, along with significant rain to western areas, and mild and breezy conditions to eastern areas. The other big weather story of February was the early-month cold outbreak, which marked the second arctic intrusion of the winter season. High temperatures on February 7th were as cold as the mid teens in parts of eastern Washington, while several locations fell below zero at night. Prosser experienced its coldest February temperature (1 degree on the 7th) since the historic 1996 cold outbreak. Overall, Prosser experienced its coldest February since 1996, and coldest February average high since 1993. It is also noteworthy that 2014 marks the first time in 20 years that Prosser's average high was cooler in February than in January.

The winter season was generally cooler than normal as a result of the two arctic blasts. Early December was much colder than normal and mostly dry. However, a dirty ridge was anchored in place over Washington from mid December to early January. As a result, day-time temperatures were rather mild, and conditions were drier than normal, with only periodic weak storms passing through the region. Active and mild weather arrived for the second week of January, as a series of storms brought rain to western areas and wind and warmth to eastern areas. The latter half of January was mostly stagnant and dry, with cool and cloudy weather in the interior lowlands, and mild and dry conditions in the mountains and at the coast. The unusual chill of early February gave way to the stormiest period of the winter during mid February. Despite mild temperatures in the east, much needed snow fell in the Cascades, as notable rainfall affected western Washington. Finally, somewhat calmer and more seasonal weather closed out the month of February. Overall, Prosser's average low temperature this winter was the coolest since 1992/1993. Even so, that fact is much more a testament to the recent lack of extreme cold than it is to this winter's chill.

February 2014 Average Temperatures (°F)
Location (Period of Record) Maximum Anomaly Minimum Anomaly Mean Anomaly Soil Temperature
8 inches
Prosser (WSU IAREC; 1989-2014)
40.8
-5.7
27.8
-2.2
34.1
-3.7
38.8
Moxee (1989-2014)
39.8
-6.6
23.9
-1.8
32.5
-2.9
35.9
Mt. Vernon (WSU NWREC; 1994-2014)
44.6
-4.1
33.1
-2.4
38.7
-3.1
40.1
Wenatchee (WSU TFREC; 1994-2014)
38.8
-4.7
24.8
-2.4
31.7
-2.9
34.6
Tri-Cities (1995-2014)
42.5
-5.8
28.8
-0.8
35.3
-3.2
38.4
Walla Walla (1993-2014)
40.0
-5.7
30.3
-1.3
35.0
-3.4
37.5
Moses Lake (1989-2014)
38.5
NA
24.8
NA
31.3
NA
33.4
Omak (Pogue Flat; 2005-2014)
35.0
NA
21.4
NA
27.9
NA
31.5
Royal City East (2008-2014)
38.6
NA
25.9
NA
32.2
NA
33.6
Pullman (2008-2014)
34.2
NA
22.9
NA
28.6
NA
33.6
Long Beach (WSU Long Beach; 2005-2014)
48.4
NA
35.4
NA
42.1
NA
43.3
Sequim (2008-2014)
44.9
NA
30.8
NA
38.2
NA
40.5
Seattle (2011-2014)
46.2
NA
35.4
NA
40.5
NA
42.6
Vancouver (WSU RE; 2008-2014)
45.5
NA
32.4
NA
39.3
NA
42.4
2014 Rainfall and Evapotranspiration (ET) (inches)
Location (Period of Record) Rainfall ET Net
February 2014 February (Rain - ET)
Prosser (WSU IAREC; 1989-2014)
0.61
1.05
2.00
-1.39
Moxee (1989-2014)
0.78
1.01
1.68
-0.90
Mt. Vernon (WSU NWREC; 1994-2014)
3.89
8.59
1.15
2.74
Wenatchee (WSU TFREC; 1994-2014)
1.54
2.20
1.15
0.39
Tri-Cities (1995-2014)
0.62
1.13
2.27
-1.65
Walla Walla (1993-2014)
1.26
2.26
1.37
-0.11
Moses Lake (1989-2014)
0.51
0.88
1.68
-1.17
Omak (Pogue Flat; 2005-2014)
1.29
1.65
1.54
-0.25
Royal City East (2008-2014)
0.43
0.81
1.91
-1.48
Pullman (2008-2014)
2.17
3.87
1.58
0.59
Long Beach (WSU Long Beach; 2005-2014)
6.79
11.71
1.05
5.74
Sequim (2008-2014)
2.41
4.72
1.31
1.10
Seattle (2011-2014)
5.51
9.37
1.31
4.20
Vancouver (WSU RE; 2008-2014)
5.19
7.95
1.20
3.80
February 2014 Daily Rainfall Time Series Graph for Prosser February 2014 Daily Rainfall Time Series Graph for Long Beach

February Weather
Early February-Arctic Air Blasts Washington
A weak weather system delivered light snow to some eastern areas on the 2nd and 3rd, while simultaneously ushering in a much colder and drier air mass. On February 4th, morning temperatures were around zero at the coldest spots. Lows on February 5th were as cold as -11 degrees at St. Andrews, while high temperatures struggled to achieve the mid teens in some eastern areas. Otherwise, strong northeast winds made for brutal wind chill values. On the 6th, highs were in the teens to around 20 degrees in the east and upper 20s to low 30s in the west. Lows dropped into the mid teens to mid 20s in the west, and negative single digits to low teens in eastern areas.

Temperatures increased to the mid teens to mid 20s in the east, and upper 20s to 30s in the west on February 7th, though lows were still as chilly as -8 degrees at Wapato. Highs were as warm as the low 40s in the west on February 8th, though eastern areas remained in the 20s. Snow fell in southern areas of the state from the 6th to 8th, with the heaviest amounts in southwestern Washington. Heavy snow also fell on the evening of the 8th in south central Washington, with 6+ inches accumulating around Yakima.

Mid February-Stormy Weather Builds Mountain Snowpack
High temperatures broke 50 degrees in the west as rain returned on the 10th. Most of the east remained in the mid 20s to 30s, although 40s were reached around Walla Walla. Temperatures on February 11th finally reached the 30s and 40s in most of eastern Washington. Over 2 inches of rain fell at Stevenson, as wind speeds increased. On the morning of the 12th, sustained winds of over 40 mph were observed at St. John and Garfield East, along with gusts of 58 mph at Dayton. Rain continued, especially in the west, with 1.75 additional inches falling at Stevenson. Morning temperatures were very mild due to the strong wind, with some locales starting the day in the 50s.

Precipitation fell across most of the state on the 15th, with heavy rain in southwestern areas, and heavy snow in the mountains. Rain continued in the west on February 17th, as mild breezes persisted in the east, and snow piled up in the mountains. 1.52 inches of rain fell at Puyallup, while 1.3 inches was recorded at Vancouver. Highs in south central Washington were in the mid to upper 50s again, with mild lows as well. Winds gusted as high as 54 mph at Fourmile.

Late February-Seasonal Weather Prevails
Highs ranged from the upper 20s to low 50s on the 23rd, as rain and snow fell in northwestern Washington. February 24th was another variable day, with a mild rain in the southwest, snow in Bellingham, and areas of mixed precipitation in central and eastern areas. From the 22nd to the 24th, parts of Whatcom County received more than one foot of snow. February 25th was a drier day, with highs in the 30s in the east, 50s in the west, and 60 degrees at Long Beach. Finally, calmer and warmer conditions arrived for the rest of February.

February 2014 Daily Temperatures
2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for Prosser 2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for Moxee
2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for Wenatchee 2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for Tri-Cities
2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for:Walla Walla February 2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for WSU
February 2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for WSU MosesLake February 2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for WSU Omak
February 2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for WSU Long Beach February 2014 Temperature Time Series Graph for WSU Mt. Vernon

February-By The Numbers
The average February temperature at Prosser (WSU IAREC) was 34.1°F, which is 3.7 degrees (1.1 standard deviations) below average. The average high temperature was 40.7°F, which is 5.8 degrees (1.4 standard deviations) below average. The average low temperature was 27.8°F, which is 2.2 degrees below average. The maximum temperature recorded last month was 57.7°F on February 12th, while the coolest daily high was 16.1°F on February 6th. Low temperatures ranged from 39.8°F on February 13th to 1.3°F on February 7th. Daily average temperatures ranged from 49.8°F on the 12th to 12.9°F on the 6th. The monthly precipitation total was 0.61 inches. The average wind speed was 5.9 mph, and the average 8 inch soil temperature was 38.8°F. Wenatchee (WSU TFREC) recorded an average temperature of 31.7°F, which is 2.9 degrees below average.


Notable February Events
  • February 5th: The temperature at St. Andrews plummeted to -11 degrees.
  • February 12th: The wind at Dayton gusted to 58 mph.
  • February 12th: 1.87 inches of rain fell at Stevenson.
  • February 28th: The temperature at Long Beach soared to 66 degrees.

February Temperature Extremes (°F)
  Observed in 2014 Record Monthly Extremes
Site (Period of Record) Warmest Date Coldest Date Warmest Date Coldest Date
Prosser (WSU IAREC; 1989-2014)
57.7
2/12/2014
1.3
2/7/2014
69.8
2/20/1995
-13.0
2/3/1996
Moxee (1989-2014)
57.8
2/12/2014
-2.8
2/7/2014
66.8
2/19/1991
-22.4
2/1/1996
Mt. Vernon (WSU NWREC; 1994-2014)
58.0
2/28/2014
17.6
2/6/2014
62.6
2/22/2009
7.8
2/26/2011
Wenatchee (WSU TFREC; 1994-2014)
53.5
2/28/2014
-0.7
2/6/2014
62.1
2/22/2002
-8.1
2/1/1996
Tri-Cities (1995-2014)
61.8
2/12/2014
6.5
2/6/2014
67.9
2/8/1996
-10.8
2/2/1996
Walla Walla (1992-2014)
58.7
2/12/2014
6.4
2/6/2014
76.0
2/20/1995
-15.0
2/1/1996
Moses Lake (1989-2014)
55.3
2/14/2014
2.0
2/6/2014
64.8
2/20/1995
-21.8
2/3/1996
Omak (Pogue Flat; 2005-2014)
56.8
2/12/2014
-1.9
2/6/2014
58.7
2/27/2005
-1.9
2/6/2014
Royal City East (2008-2014)
56.0
2/18/2014
5.3
2/6/2014
63.7
2/12/2011
5.3
2/6/2014
Pullman (2008-2014)
48.2
2/12/2014
-0.9
2/5/2014
54.0
2/14/2011
-14.8
2/26/2011
Long Beach (WSU Long Beach; 2005-2014)
65.9
2/28/2014
17.4
2/7/2014
70.0
2/3/2009
16.9
2/19/2006
Sequim (2008-2014)
55.2
2/13/2014
11.0
2/7/2014
56.6
2/22/2009
9.6
2/26/2011
Seattle (2011-2014)
57.5
2/26/2014
20.4
2/6/2014
NA
NA
NA
NA
Vancouver (WSU RE; 2008-2014)
59.6
2/28/2014
17.8
2/5/2014
60.5
2/15/2013
13.7
2/26/2011

Winter Weather
December and January Review
A strong storm passage on December 1st dropped an astonishing 6 inches of rain at Stevenson in just 24 hours. However, cold and dry weather followed quickly in its wake, and persisted for the next seven to ten days. Prosser's temperatures remained below freezing for nine consecutive days, while Pullman dropped below -5 degrees for 5 straight nights. The remainder of December was generally inactive and mild during the day. While monthly mean high temperatures were only slightly below average, the mean low temperature was more than 7 degrees below average.

The dirty ridge of mid to late December continued to dominate the weather in early January, before a series of potent weather systems affected Washington beginning on the 10th. The storms brought strong winds to the state, along with heavy west-side rainfall and mild temperatures. The weather calmed around mid month, and a stable ridge of high pressure controlled the weather for most of the latter part of January. Conditions were dry and mild in the mountains, but cool and foggy in the stagnant lowlands. Finally, more active conditions returned at month's end.

Winter 2014 Daily Rainfall Time Series Graph for Prosser Winter 2014 Daily Rainfall Time Series Graph for Long Beach

Winter-By The Numbers
The average winter temperature at Prosser (WSU IAREC) was 31.9°F, which is 2.5 degrees (1 standard deviation) below average. The average high temperature was 39.3°F, which is 2.0 degrees below average, while the average low temperature was 25.4°F, which is 2.6 degrees (1.1 standard deviations) below average. Daily high temperatures ranged from 59.2°F on December 1st to 16.1°F on February 6th. Low temperatures varied from 43.3°F on January 13th to 0.6°F on December 8th. Daily average temperatures ranged from 49.8°F on February 12th to 9.3°F on December 8th. 1.19 inches of precipitation fell during the winter season. The average wind speed was 4.3 mph, while the average 8 inch soil temperature was 38.3°F. Other locations also experienced below normal winter temperatures. Wenatchee (WSU TFREC) had an average seasonal temperature of 30.6°F, which is 0.6 degrees below average. Overall, the winter of 2013/2014 was 3.5 degrees cooler than last winter at Prosser (WSU IAREC).

Winter 2013/2014 Average Temperatures (°F)
Location (Period of Record) Maximum Anomaly Minimum Anomaly Mean Anomaly Soil Temperature
8 inches
Prosser (WSU IAREC; 1989-2014)
39.3
-2.0
25.4
-2.6
31.9
-2.5
38.3
Moxee (1989-2014)
39.0
-1.8
21.2
-2.9
29.9
-2.1
34.6
Mt. Vernon (WSU NWREC; 1994-2014)
44.7
-2.0
33.5
-1.6
38.9
-1.8
42.7
Wenatchee (WSU TFREC; 1994-2014)
37.6
-0.8
24.5
-0.6
30.6
-0.6
32.6
Tri-Cities (1995-2014)
39.9
NA
25.8
NA
32.4
NA
36.8
Walla Walla (1993-2014)
39.9
-2.8
28.5
-2.0
33.8
-2.5
36.3
Moses Lake (1989-2014)
36.5
NA
23.2
NA
29.6
NA
32.7
Omak (Pogue Flat; 2005-2014)
33.2
NA
21.8
NA
27.4
NA
32.4
Royal City East (2008-2014)
37.0
NA
25.5
NA
31.0
NA
33.2
Pullman (2008-2014)
34.5
NA
24.2
NA
29.3
NA
33.5
Long Beach (WSU Long Beach; 2005-2014)
48.6
NA
34.2
NA
41.2
NA
42.8
Sequim (2008-2014)
45.3
NA
30.8
NA
38.5
NA
41.2
Seattle (2011-2014)
45.9
NA
35.6
NA
40.5
NA
42.9
Vancouver (WSU RE; 2008-2014)
44.7
NA
31.7
NA
38.0
NA
43.0
Winter Rainfall and Evapotranspiration (ET) (inches)
Location (Period of Record) Rainfall ET Net
(Rain - ET)
Prosser (WSU IAREC; 1989-2014)
1.19
4.34
-3.15
Moxee (1989-2014)
1.19
3.76
-2.57
Mt. Vernon (WSU NWREC; 1994-2014)
10.93
1.93
9.00
Wenatchee (WSU TFREC; 1994-2014)
2.46
2.42
0.04
Tri-Cities (1995-2014)
1.30
4.63
-3.33
Walla Walla (1993-2014)
3.21
3.22
-0.01
Moses Lake (1989-2014)
0.98
3.59
-2.61
Omak (Pogue Flat; 2005-2014)
1.78
2.98
-1.20
Royal City East (2008-2014)
0.88
3.93
-3.05
Pullman (2008-2014)
5.21
4.22
0.99
Long Beach (WSU Long Beach; 2005-2014)
16.48
1.97
14.51
Sequim (2008-2014)
5.69
2.69
3.00
Seattle (2011-2014)
10.65
2.45
8.20
Vancouver (WSU RE; 2008-2014)
9.70
2.78
6.92
Notable Winter Events
  • December 1st: 6 inches of rain fell at Stevenson.
  • December 8th: The low temperature at Pullman was a frigid -12 degrees.
  • December 15th: The temperature at College Place rose to 62 degrees.
  • January 10th: The wind at Wenatchee Heights gusted to 64 mph.
  • January 13th: The high temperature at Ellisforde reached a mild 65 degrees.
  • February 7th: The temperature at Wapato fell to -8 degrees.

Winter Temperature Extremes (°F)
  Observed in 2013/2014 Record Seasonal Extremes
Site (Period of Record) Warmest Date Coldest Date Warmest Date Coldest Date
Prosser (WSU IAREC; 1989-2014)
59.2
12/1/2013
0.6
12/8/2013
69.8
2/20/1995
-13.0
2/3/1996
Moxee (1989-2014)
57.8
2/14/2014
-4.2
12/8/2013
66.8
2/19/1991
-22.7
1/31/1996
Mt. Vernon (WSU NWREC; 1994-2014)
58.0
2/28/2014
12.9
12/8/2013
65.0
12/24/2005
7.8
2/26/2011
Wenatchee (WSU TFREC; 1994-2014)
57.4
1/13/2014
-0.7
2/6/2014
62.1
2/22/2002
-13.4
1/31/1996
Tri-Cities (1995-2014)
61.8
2/12/2014
4.7
12/8/2013
67.9
2/8/1996
-10.8
2/2/1996
Walla Walla (1992-2014)
60.4
1/11/2014
2.4
12/7/2013
76.0
2/20/1995
-15.0
2/1/1996
Moses Lake (1989-2014)
55.3
2/14/2014
2.0
2/6/2014
64.8
2/20/1995
-22.4
1/31/1996
Omak (Pogue Flat; 2005-2014)
61.3
1/13/2014
-1.9
2/6/2014
61.3
1/13/2014
-7.1
1/24/2008
Royal City East (2008-2014)
56.9
1/13/2014
3.1
12/8/2013
63.7
2/12/2011
-1.4
12/20/2008
Pullman (2008-2014)
49.0
12/1/2013
-12.4
12/8/2013
55.0
12/1/2008
-17.5
1/26/2009
Long Beach (WSU Long Beach; 2005-2014)
65.9
2/28/2014
11.1
12/8/2013
70.0
2/3/2009
11.1
12/8/2013
Sequim (2008-2014)
55.2
2/13/2014
11.0
2/7/2014
59.1
1/11/2010
8.3
1/21/2009
Seattle (2011-2014)
57.5
2/26/2014
17.3
12/8/2013
NA
NA
NA
NA
Vancouver (WSU RE; 2008-2014)
59.6
2/28/2014
8.3
12/8/2013
60.5
2/15/2013
6.0
12/9/2009
Weather Summary By Month
  • December: Early arctic blast, then mild and dry.
  • January: Mild and inactive.
  • February: Early arctic blast, then stormy.

Agriculture Report
Although there was continued concern about potential cold damage from the December and February arctic outbreaks, many crops seemed to be faring well. Fortunately, increasing mountain snowpack allayed some of the early winter concerns about a potential 2014 drought (NASS).

This Month in History
On February 3, 1996, the temperature at Prosser (WSU IAREC) plunged to -13 degrees.

Climate Outlook
According to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), above average temperatures are expected from mid spring into the autumn of 2014, along with potentially drier than average conditions during the late spring and early summer. El NiƱo is likely to develop this summer, although the ultimate magnitude of the event is still in question at this time.

Washington State University