It won't sound chilly to the people of Rapid City, South Dakota, but it does to Angelenos. For the first time since records began 132 years ago, the temperature in downtown Los Angeles never got as high as 70 degrees in all of February. Overall, it was the eighth-coldest February for the city on record, the National Weather Service told the Los Angeles Times. The average high for the month was 61 degrees, 7 degrees below the historical average. One storm after another, and a lack of offshore flows, the Weather Service said, kept it cool. Temperatures have been rising for years there, which might make it seem colder now. "We have already internalized a lot of the warming that's occurred," a UCLA climate scientist said. He said the future probably will hold more of the same: swings between severe winter rainstorms and serious drought.
Other parts of the country set records of their own. Low temperatures in the North and West continental US kept the national temperature about 3.5 degrees below average, a meteorologist said. Eau Claire, Wisconsin, posted its snowiest month on record— 53.7 inches, USA Today reports. Minneapolis and Des Moines had historic snow, too. A Montana newspaper called it a "miserable February." In much of the South, the issue was rain. Nashville and Knoxville had their wettest February; "there were no areas of Knoxville that weren't affected" by flooding, an official said. In Florida, Key West and Gainesville had record heat. The cheeriest development is that the US Drought Monitor reports the smallest portion of the lower 48 is in drought conditions since summer 2017—about 11 percent. (A teenager profited from Seattle's snow.)