Tri-City temperatures, rain for rest of March to be near normal

By Annette Cary, Tri-City HeraldMarch 3, 2014 

March came in like a lion this year, covering Tri-City streets with ice and tying a cold weather record on the second day of the month at Hanford.

However, the National Weather Service is predicting that temperatures and precipitation will average near normal for the month.

The high temperature Sunday was 26 degrees, which tied the previous record set in 1960 for the coldest high temperature for the date, according to data from the Hanford Meteorological Service, which keeps daily records back to World War II.

A daily temperature record also was tied and a new record set in February at Hanford.

On Feb. 5 the high temperature reached only 19 degrees, the coldest high temperature on record for the date. The previous record was 23 degrees in 1985.

The next day the high was again 19 degrees, tying the record for the coldest high for the date set in 1985.

The month was the fifth snowiest February on record at Hanford, with 11.9 inches of snowfall. Normal snowfall for a February at Hanford is 2.3 inches, according to the Hanford Meteorological Service.

However, with a dry start to the winter, total winter snowfall is still below the normal of 14.8 inches with a total through February of 12.7 inches.

In the Tri-Cities 6.9 inches of snow fell in February, with the most on the ground measuring six inches on Feb. 9, according to the National Weather Service.

February was much cooler than normal, with the average temperature in the Tri-Cities 36.3 degrees. That is 3 degrees below normal. At Hanford the temperature averaged 33.9 degrees, which is 4.3 degrees below normal.

High temperatures in the Tri-Cities averaged 42.8 degrees, which was 5.1 degrees below normal. Low temperatures averaged 29.2 degrees, which was less than 1 degree below normal.

On 14 days the low temperature was below freezing and on five days the high temperature was below freezing in the Tri-Cities. The coldest temperature, as measured in Kennewick, was 9 degrees on Feb. 6 and 7.

Temperatures for the winter season at Hanford -- December through February -- were below normal at an average of 32 degrees. The normal average is 34.2 degrees. The winter precipitation of 1.56 inches at Hanford was 55 percent of normal.

In the Tri-Cities precipitation totaled 0.81 inch during February, which is close to normal. But for the water year, which starts in October, the Tri-Cities has had just 1.95 inches of precipitation, which is less than half of normal.

The peak wind gust in the Tri-Cities last month was 49 mph on Feb. 17. At Hanford it was 52 mph on Feb. 18.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews

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