February 2015 will be remembered for the brutal COLD and frequent snow storms affecting the region. Both of these issues were related to the persistent pattern of cold and very dry Arctic air which invaded the entire Northeast. There were lots of weather disturbances during the month however most had very little moisture to work with, were quick-moving, or Berks was on the fringe of the precipitation shield. The results were basically nuisance storms as the maximum daily snow total observed was a scant 3.6″ on the 21st and the monthly total was 10.9″.
The month started with rain and snow showers but quickly turned into the COLDEST month on record. The station average temperature was 22.2 °F, which is 9.1 °F below the long-term average of 31.3 °F. There were reports of some locations recording lows of -5 to -10 °F. These were generally low-lying areas that were in more rural locations than our station. The cold, dense, arctic air typically sinks into these areas almost like a gravity well.
The maximum temperature of 42 °F occurred on the 22nd and the minimum of -1 °F on the 16th and 20th. There were 15 ice days which are days the temperature does not get above freezing. The station average for ice days in February is 7. The coldest February on record at the station was 25.3 °F from 2007. The station record low for February was 5 °F from 2007 and the record maximum is 70 °F from 2011.
There were 10 days during the month with measurable snowfall and the grand total was 10.9″, which is 2.2″ below the normal of 13.1″. Other stations reporting snow: Mohnton: 9.6″, West Lawn: 9.5″, Kutztown: 11.5″, Boyertown: 7.8″, Oley: 12.8″, Bernville: 10.0″, Laureldale: 11.5″, Hamburg: 12.0″, and Alburtis: 7.2″.
The monthly rainfall was 1.66″ which is a 1.08″ below the station normal of 2.74″. Rainfall totals in other areas of the county were the following: Mohnton: 1.73″, West Lawn: 1.91″, Reading Airport: 1.43″, Kutztown: 1.58″, Boyertown: 0.85″, Oley: 1.95″, Bernville: 0.75″, Laureldale: 1.83″, Hamburg: 1.84″, and Alburtis: 1.93″.
The predominant wind direction was West-North West and the average wind speed for the month was 4.6 mph, which is below the normal of 4.9 mph. The peak wind gust of 43 mph occurred on the 2nd. The month totaled 119 sunshine hours which is right on our average of 119 hours. A typical maximum daily solar reading was 593 w/m² and the maximum daily UV index averaged a typical 3.0.
County Records at the Reading Airport:
Month: All-Time Coldest February (tie): 20.5 °F
2/16 – Record low of -1 °F breaking 0 °F from 1904
2/24 – Record low of -3 °F breaking 3 °F from 1914
Station All-Time Records Set:
Feb 2015 – All-Time Coldest of any Month: 22.2 °F
2/20 – All-Time Coldest Night: 4.3 °F
Note: Station normal and averages include the current year’s values and date back to 2004.
Note: Station rain totals other than the Reading Airport are from CoCoRaHS and are typically recorded at 9 AM so the totals may not align with ours if precipitation events occur at the end of the month or the beginning of the next month.