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February 19, 2009

Weather Watch

Exactly as we’ve been predicting for the past month, this is turning out to be an exceptionally dry February - one of the driest on record in central and eastern New York.

All those days at the beginning of this month, when Montana was consistently warmer than Georgia and the Carolinas, combined with the strong winds last Thursday, set into motion an extraordinarily dry and sunny weather pattern.

During the first 17 days of February there’s been measurable precipitation on only four days, and with only a third of an inch of precipitation, that’s about 15percent of normal. Even more remarkable is the fact that we got little more than a trace of snow for the month, through Wednesday morning, February 18.

Since we’ll miss most of the precipitation as a series of storm systems miss our area to the north and to the south during the upcoming week, there’s an excellent chance that this will turn out to be the least-snowiest February ever recorded in our area.

On Friday a storm system will lift northward to Quebec, and strong northwesterly winds will bring colder air; with variable cloudiness and a few snow showers highs will be in the upper 20’s.

The northwest flow will also reinforce the dry weather pattern, with partly sunny skies and highs in the mid-30’s on Saturday.

As a storm system tracks well to our south across the mid-Atlantic states and out to sea to the east of the Virginia coast on Sunday, we’ll get intervals of clouds and sunshine, a few snow showers and highs from 25 to 30 degrees.

With a large upper-level trough in place over eastern Canada and a northwest flow at the surface and aloft, skies will be partly sunny on Monday and Tuesday with highs in the low 30’s.

Mark Hanok is an Otegobased meteorologist.