CHAMPAIGN — For the third consecutive month and the 11th of the last 14, February temperatures in Champaign-Urbana were above average — but just barely.
The mean temperature last month was 29.8 degrees, while the average February mean is 29 degrees.
Meanwhile, February was without a subzero temperature reading, meaning that it has been 750 days (including Monday) since Champaign-Urbana has had a below-zero temperature, according to Jim Angel, state climatologist at the Illinois State Water Survey. By the end of this week, the current streak will be the second-longest in local weather history.
Currently No. 2 is Dec. 25, 1951, to Jan. 16, 1954 — 754 days without a subzero reading. Subzero readings in Champaign-Urbana in March are rare, the last one occurring on March 5, 1960.
The local above-zero record — set between Jan. 24, 1937 and Dec. 30, 1939 — is 1,071 days, according to Angel.
The last subzero temperature in Champaign-Urbana was on Feb. 10, 2011. In order for the local record to be broken, temperatures in Champaign-Urbana would have to stay above zero through Jan. 21, 2014.
The average high temperature for February was actually below average — 37.3 degrees versus a normal high for the month of 37.7 degrees. But the average low was 21.9 degrees, warmer than the month's historical average low of 20.2.
Statewide, the average temperature for February was 29.3 degrees, or 1.5 degrees below average. Statewide precipitation was 2.7 inches, which was 0.6 inch above average, according to the state water survey.
Locally, the coldest reading for the month was 4 degrees on Feb. 1. The coldest reading this winter was 3 degrees on Jan. 22.
February precipitation in Champaign-Urbana totaled 3.21 inches, almost an inch above normal for the month, making it the 19th wettest February on record, said Angel.
Five of the last seven months in Champaign-Urbana have recorded above-average precipitation.
But snowfall last month amounted to just 4.3 inches, 1.5 inches below normal. Snowfall for the Champaign-Urbana winter season so far is just 7.2 inches, far below the average winter snowfall (since 1981) of 23.2 inches.
Statewide, snowfall for February ranged from less than 1 inch in southern Illinois to over 20 inches in the northeast corner of the state.
For the core winter months of December, January, and February, the statewide temperature was 31.8 degrees, or 2.8 degrees above average. The statewide average precipitation for the three winter months was 9.1 inches, 2.2 inches above average. It was the 11th wettest winter on record for Illinois.
Snowfall for those three months ranged from less than 10 inches in parts of East Central Illinois to more than 20 inches in parts of far western and northern Illinois, as well as in a band across southern Illinois.