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of snow pushes precipitation above normal
Published March 2, 2004
By DYLAN DARLING
February was catch-up month for precipitation in the Klamath Basin.
The month started out a bit wet, then had a dry week leading up to Valentine's Day before a big blast of snow hit the Klamath Basin Feb. 16 and Feb. 17. The month then ended on a soggy note.
Seven of the month's last nine days - including leap day - had at least a trace of rain or sloppy snow.
The rain and snow added up to almost an inch more precipitation than is normal for Klamath Falls in February. In all, 2.25 inches of precipitation came down during the month, 0.98 more than normal.
Much of that came down on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17 - the two days combined for 1.43 inches of precipitation.
Bill Ludwig, meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Medford office, said the deluge was caused by a storm front that "tapped into a lot of tropical moisture," making it warmer and wetter than the average February storm.
The burst of snow helped push the total precipitation so far for the water year, which began Sept. 1, to 8.15 inches. The total is a half inch more than normal. Last year at this time, the precipitation total was at 6.47 inches, more than an inch below normal.
While the rain and snow kept shoes squeaking in Klamath Falls, it kept the snow pilling up in the mountains. As of today the Basin's snowpack was up to 138 percent of average from 126 percent at the end of January. At the end of last February the snowpack was at 54 percent of normal.
The on-again, off-again rain and snow made for mostly cloudy days, with only five clear days logged by the Weather Service during the month. There were 11 partly cloudy and 13 cloudy days.
Although the clouds kept the Basin wet, they also kept temperatures just about average for the month, Lugwig said.
Twenty six days had lows of freezing or below. The lowest low was 16 degrees, on both Feb. 10 and Feb. 12.
Ironically, the highest high - 52 degrees - was also on Feb. 12. Only Feb. 12 and Feb. 11 had highs above 50 degrees, the rest of the highs for the month were mostly in the mid-40s.
Tonight should be partly cloudy with lows around 20 and light winds. Wednesday should have highs in the lower to mid-40s. The Weather Service isn't predicting a chance of rain until Saturday.
March is usually warmer and dryer than February. By the end of the month the average high gets up to 54 degrees and throughout the month an average of 0.92 inches of precipitation comes down.
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