Surprising February weather

Dale Knutsen
Special to Chester Progressive
March 9, 2011

After a relatively dry and mild January, winter returned to the Lake Almanor Basin during February. It was almost mid-month before stormy weather arrived, and by that time our local snowpack had declined substantially.

However, things changed dramatically and rapidly after that point. The first storm series lasted nearly a week, bringing heavy snows, downed trees and widespread power outages.

After a several-day pause, a brief final storm dumped additional snow on the area. When the month ended, the West Shore area had received 7.16 inches of total precipitation, mostly from 80.5 inches of snowfall.

Both of those figures are in excess of the averages for February. The seasonal accumulation at the end of February came to 27.82 inches of total precipitation, or 113 percent of average, as recorded at the Prattville monitoring site.

The seasonal snowfall accumulation at Lake Almanor West amounted to 187.5 inches (over 15 feet), which is 178 percent of average.

There was a wide swing in Chester temperatures during February, with a maximum high temperature of 61 degrees F on two days early in the month and a minimum low temperature of 1 degree F Feb. 27.

Overall, the temperatures were lower than average, with the average high running about 1 degree lower and the average low coming in more than 4 degrees lower.

Looking forward to March, the average total precipitation would run a bit over 4 inches with about half of the water content coming from about 20 inches of new snowfall.

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