It may come as no surprise that February was a very warm month. In fact, eastern North Carolina was above average by about 7 to 10 degrees for the month. Several places, like Cape Hatteras and Beaufort recorded their warmest February on record. New Bern posted the second warmest February in its history. The jet stream, which separates large air masses, was consistently north of eastern North Carolina, which allowed for warm air to persistently stay entrenched across the east. Eastern North Carolina was not alone as many parts of the U.S. saw their warmest Februaries in history.
The 30-year average high temperature for the month of February for Greenville is 56.3 degrees. For the month of February, the actual average for Greenville was 67.8 degrees. The 30-year average high temperature for Cape Hatteras is 53.5 degrees, while the actual February average high was 63.6 degrees. Beaufort’s climatological average high temperature for February is 55.4, while the actual average for this past February was 64.0. Meanwhile, New Bern’s average high for February is 57.9 degrees but the actual average for this past February was 67.8 degrees.
The above average high and low temperatures for the month of February was just one part of the story. The average precipitation amounts were well below average. Some communities, like Cape Hatteras, Greenville and Kinston are more than 2 inches below average precipitation, while others are an inch or so. This has prompted the U.S. Drought Monitor to categorize parts of eastern North Carolina as abnormally dry.
So February was very warm and very dry compared to average, but what can we expect from March? Well if you like the warm early Spring temperatures, then you’ll like March. The branch of the National Weather Service that predicts climate is forecasting for a warmer than average March. The average high temperature for the month of March for eastern North Carolina is around 64 degrees. As for precipitation, the National Weather Service is forecasting for above average precipitation totals (which would help in our abnormally dry state). The average precipitation for the month of March is around 4 inches.
If this forecast holds, prepare for a warm and wet March. March begins meteorological spring which means we could start to see more clashing of air masses. If the warmer air mass persists, we’ll have to monitor how that changes severe weather season. As always, we will keep you updated every day with your First Alert Forecast.