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Weather Talk: February is usually the driest month of the year

February is the driest month of the year based on average precipitation (rain plus melted snow).

Part of the reason is that there are fewer days in the month. But the difference between February precipitation (0.59 inch), January precipitation (0.71 inch) and December precipitation (0.83 inch) cannot be accounted for by the three extra days. It usually just doesn't snow as much in February.

Historically, there have usually been fewer big snows and blizzards in February than in any of the other snowy months. Overall, winter is the driest season because snow does not contain very much water.

Snow accumulation is usually about 5 to 10 percent water and 90 to 95 percent air. We get an average of about 50 inches of snow a winter, but winter precipitation, even with a few rainfalls mixed in, averages around 3 inches.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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