Varied weather conditions in the US

The weather in the United States couldn`t be more varied in February. While `atmospheric rivers` have led to heavy rainfall on the west coast of the country in recent weeks, the southern states in particular have been experiencing a heatwave over the last few days. This is now being brought to an abrupt end by the passage of a striking cold front.

At the beginning of the week (2024-02-26), the southern states registered extremely high temperatures for the current season. Our weather map shows the measured temperatures over the last few days in hourly resolution. States such as Texas and Oklahoma were notably affected by the heat. For example, temperatures of 34°C were measured near Austin (Texas) on Tuesday. Dallas and Oklahoma City also reached maximum temperatures of 30°C.

Such high temperatures are fairly unusual for this time of year, which is also confirmed by our modelled climate diagrams. According to the climatological average (last 30 years), the daily maximum temperatures in February for the regions mentioned above tend to be in the 10-20°C range. Dallas (Texas), for example, has an average daily maximum of 17°C in February, while Oklahoma City has 13° Celsius. Accordingly, the current temperatures are significantly higher than the expected values.

The following figure shows our modelled climate diagram for Oklahoma City (top) and Dallas in Texas (bottom). The graphs on the right show how many days per month a certain temperature is reached. For Oklahoma City, this means that on a 30-year average, only 0.4 days in February have temperatures above 25°C. For Dallas, the corresponding value is 2.2 days with temperatures above 25°C.

Not only are the southern states experiencing exceptionally high temperatures, but our temperature anomaly map also shows above-average temperatures in the northeast of the country (anomaly >4°C).

The precipitation anomaly map for February 2024 shows a lot of precipitation, especially on the southern west coast. Several so-called "atmospheric rivers" caused heavy rainfall in California last week (2024-02-19). These rivers transport large quantities of moist air masses, causing heavy rainfall once landfall.

Cold front approaching: While warm temperatures still prevail in the country's south, the north-east of the USA experienced heavy precipitation in the form of rain and hail accompanied by strong wind gusts on Tuesday (2024-02-27) due to a dominant low-pressure system. The resulting cold front is currently moving towards the south-east of the country, causing rapid cooling across the country. This change in the weather can be seen on our temperature maps.

While temperatures in Dallas (Texas) still reached 30°C on Tuesday (2024-02-27), they dropped drastically, resulting in maximum temperatures of 11°C Thursday (2024-02-29). After the cold front, the weather situation will calm down over the weekend, with renewed early summer temperatures in large parts of the country (see temperature map screenshots). However, the arrival of the next cold front is already predicted for Monday (2024-03-04).

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