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February Poised to be Coldest Ever, More Bitter Cold & Snow on the Way

by on February 27, 2015 6:00 AM

Another messy winter storm swept across the State College area overnight.

A couple of inches of fresh snow had fallen by dawn.

Not much, but enough to  create slick travel conditions and foul up the school schedule.

The State College Area School District says schools will operate on a two-hour delay Friday.

Snow is one thing. The relentless cold is another.

It has, in fact, been a frigid, frozen, February.

This past month is poised to go down in history as the coldest February on record.

And February will go out with another sharp blast of arctic air hitting State College on Friday.

"It is going to get very cold across the area, Friday into Saturday," says AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. "I think we're looking at temperatures bottoming out within a couple of degrees of zero Friday night into Saturday morning."

Temperatures will likely hit a few degrees below zero in outlying areas but it won't be anywhere near a record. The coldest temperature ever recorded for Feb. 28 is minus 13, which happened in 1934.

"It's not quite as extreme as some other air masses that we've seen earlier this month, but it's still going to be painful. It's still going to hurt when you're outdoors for any length of time," warns Sosnowski.

Wind chills won't be too bad but any kind of a breeze will make it feel like it's below zero.

Thankfully, temperatures will rebound on Saturday. Sunny skies will help push the mercury into the mid-twenties.

Next week could feel like a heat wave by comparison with temperatures expected to climb into the thirties on most days. But there's a downside.

"We're probably looking at anywhere from two to three storms next week, spanning Sunday into Friday," says Sosnowski. The first storm is expected to roll into State College on Sunday, with snow and possibly a wintry mix Sunday night. Travel conditions could deteriorate Sunday afternoon into Sunday night and it's possible roads will still be slippery for the Monday morning commute.

That storm will probably drop a couple of inches of snow, enough to shovel and plow.

"The second storm could bring us some rain on Wednesday. "The concern being there, if we get a big surge of warm air coming in with rainfall there could be some issues as far as ice jams are concerned for some of the rivers and streams," says Sosnowski.

A third storm is possible later in the week, perhaps by Friday.

Back to the extreme cold: The chilliest February on the record was set in 1979 when the average temperature was 17.8 degrees.

As of Thursday, the average temperature for this February is 17.4 degrees and with even colder weather expected over the next few days it's likely that February 2015 will set a new record. The average temperature is determined by taking the average of highs and lows for the month.

"It does look like over the next couple of days the temperature will be averaging 15 to 20 degrees below normal," says Sosnowski. "Pretty good chance that we're going to sneak in there with the coldest February on record."

In case you're wondering, the all-time record for the coldest month in State College was set in January of 1977 when the average temperature was 13.4 degrees.

 

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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