CLEVELAND, Ohio - At 11:59 p.m. tonight, both Cleveland and Akron are in line to break the record for warmest February ever -- by the largest margin of any of the previous top 10 records.
Before, Cleveland's warmest February average temperature was 37.5 degrees. Right now, we are around 41 degrees, beating the record by at least 3.5 degrees. For reference, Cleveland's typical February mean temperature is only 30.5 degrees.
Until now, the biggest gap between the top 10 warmest Februarys was only 0.7 degrees.Cleveland's February 2017 average temperature compared to previous top 10 warmest Februarys.Kelly Reardon, cleveland.com
The same goes for Akron. Before this year, Akron's warmest February average temperature was also 37.5 degrees, and this month's average temperature is around 40 degrees; a whopping 11 degrees above the normal.
This means this year Akron beat out the previous record by at least 2.5 degrees, also the significantly largest margin in any of the previous top 10 warmest months.Akron's February 2017 average temperature compared to previous top 10 warmest Februarys.Kelly Reardon, cleveland.com
Why so warm?
The very slight cooling effect felt with this year's La Nina went back to neutral in the end of January, allowing the recent warming trend to escalate further.2016 temperature rankings: 1 indicates coldest on record, 122 indicates warmest on record.NOAA Climate Prediction Center
Exacerbating the warming trend were many days of strong southerly winds this month. Ohio is very flat, so when winds blow from the south, this easily drags in that very warm, moist air all the way from the Gulf of Mexico.
Will this abnormal heat continue?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, these much above average temperatures are expected to dissipate in the month of March, with all of Ohio in an "equal chance" region of above or below average temperatures.March 2017 temperature outlook.Kelly Reardon, cleveland.com
Cleveland, Akron break records for hottest February day ever -- by multiple degrees: Feb. 24, 2017
Keep checking cleveland.com/weather for daily weather updates for Northeast Ohio, and don't forget to submit any weather questions you may have!Kelly Reardon is cleveland.com's meteorologist. Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter @kreardon0818.
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