By John Simpson

February was quite cold and very wet. An incredible 2.86 inches of rain and melted snow fell. This is well above my 8-year average of 1.02 inches. February 2018 was very wet as well when 2.98 inches fell last year. As a comparison, the combined rainfall for the six Februarys from 2012 to 2017 only yielded 2.34 inches, at my place in Central Del Lago. So, each February in 2018 and 2019 surpassed the previous six Februarys’ combined rainfall.  

The Tucson Airport recorded 2.03 inches of rain, which is well above its 30-year average of 0.86 inches and 2 to 4 inch rain amounts were quite common in the region. For the three-month winter season (December 2017 to February 2018), I recorded 5.41 inches of rain. This is the second wettest winter since I started taking records in 2011, the wettest being the winter of 2014/2015 when 5.49 inches of rain fell. My eight-year winter average rainfall is 3.53 inches and only one winter in the past eight years did I record less than three inches and that was the winter of 2013/2014, when a mere 1.00 inch fell. The Tucson airport recorded 4.62 inches of rain this winter season, well above its 30-year average of 2.73 inches.  

On the temperature side, the Tucson airport recorded the 31st coolest February since the 1880’s and was 3.6 degrees below its 30-year average. For the three-month winter season, the airport was slightly below average at 0.7 degrees below the 30-year average.  

The big story this month, and for this winter season, is snowfall. Snow fell much of the day on FridayFebruary 22nd. I recorded 5 inches at its max depth on raised surfaces such as my car roof and balcony and 7 inches in grassy areas. More snow did fall but melting also occurred while the snow was falling. When adding this snowfall to the snow that fell in January, I recorded about a foot of snow this season, an amount I have never seen during the 31 years I have lived in the Tucson / Vail area. By comparison, the Tucson airport recorded 1.9 inches of snow during the February 22nd event and 2.3 inches total for the winter season. As we enter March and spring, temperatures warm and rainy days become less. Next month, I will report on what March delivers. 

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