Why has February been a wacky weather month?

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — February has been a strange month weather-wise.

The area has been hit with several big snowstorms and then record high temperatures in the 60s, while early Thursday morning severe thunderstorms woke many people up from a night’s sleep.


  • 10 days have hit high temperatures of at least 50 degrees or warmer
  • Lows have dropped below zero on three days this month
  • Valentine’s Day was the coldest reading with -9 degrees at T.F. Green Airport since January 1982

Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca said part of the weather pattern was likely due to El Niño.

The warm water has had a rippling effect on the jet stream over Southern New England, keeping cold air pushed to the north for long stretches.

Although, occasionally this allows for the cold blasts and snow storms to move in.

Dave Valley from the National Weather Service said the effects of El Niño are not just surface deep.

“When you have an El Niño, you are warming two thirds of the tropical Pacific. And you are not only warming the surface,” said Dave Vallee, “but you are warming it hundreds of feet down through the ocean surface.”

Overall, the month of February has run a little above normal in the temperature department.

RELATED: How El Niño could impact Southern New England this winter

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