February is coldest month on record

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

It’s official: Presque Isle County experienced its coldest February ever.  Brag to your family. Print a few T-shirts. You just survived a historic month in northern Michigan.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has been keeping records since the early 1900s and could not come up with one colder, said Dave Lawrence, NWS meteorologist.

“You ever hear a grandparent say ‘Hey, I remember back in the day it was this cold.’ This has been one of those winters,” said Lawrence. “We will be talking about this for years to come.”

ROGERS CITY plow trucks worked to clear the snow from West Third Street Tuesday afternoon. Unlike the recent fluffy snow the area received, this batch of white stuff was wet and slippery. (Photo by Peter Jakey)

Some will remember pipe freezing, or the steamship Arthur M. Anderson’s near two-week ordeal navigating through thick sheets of ice on the lower Great Lakes. Some may remember days off because of the cold.

The coldest reading at Presque Isle County Airport in Rogers City was February when it dipped to –17 Fahrenheit.

“That’s not really too shabby,” said Lawrence. “That followed a high of –1 on that same day. We had a very cold stretch in there. We had several highs in the single digits to near zero and only a handful of days with highs in the 20s.”

On the same day, it was –29 Fahrenheit at Alpena County Regional Airport, where the NWS has a weather observation station. Alpena had an average temperature of 6.6 degrees, averaging the highs and lows for 28 days.

The long-term average from 1981 to 2010, which is the most recent data, is 20.3 for the same time period.

“So, our departure is about 13.7 degrees colder than what is normally observed over the long term,” he said.

There has been less snow, but more sunshine.

Lawrence said there is one more cold shot that may stretch into Friday. “Then, the good news is, actually, it looks like for a period of midmonth, we are going to see a fairly substantial warm-up. Not sure how warm, but the pattern should support much warmer temperatures for at least a week or two.”

The other good news is that spring is only a few weeks away.