Leap Day Weather Pattern Trends Favor a Break In Cabin Fever

WOAY-TV (Oak Hill, WV): Digging back through the record books, if you are ready for a spring break before March, mark Leap Day on the calendar!

Chief Meteorologist Chad Merrill explains:

We had a stretch of cooler weather back early in the 1950s and 60s, and then the temperature jumped in the 1970s. We’ve had a little dip in the early 1980s and then been up and down every four years with our temperatures.

The breakdown includes cooler than average temperatures in the late 1950s to early 1960s, above average temperatures in the 1970s, then up and down every one or two leap years since then.

So if you extrapolate this trend, it’ll be a warmer than average day on February 29, 2024.
Precipitation patterns show very little rain or melted down snow on Leap Day with a tendency for a dry trend in the last two decades. The most precipitation was 0.34 of an inch back in 1964.

So chances are, if we have any rain, it’s going to be very little. So most of the day should be dry. What about snowfall? Have we had a snowy leap day going back into the 1950s? The leap days in the 1960s were snowiest, but the trend is for little to no snow in the last three decades.

So, if we extrapolate the data to February 29, 2024, chances are we won’t have any snow on leap day!

NOAA takes the averages of the temperature and precipitation data averages for February 28 and March 1 to calculate the normal high and low temperature and precipitation data for Leap Day!

The climatological data you currently see on television for any given day is the 30-year average taken from the latest dataset (1991-2020). In just under 10 years (2031), the 30-year averages will be updated and include calculations from the 2001-2030 dataset. This will be the first time the 30-year climate averages will only include data from the 2000s!

Of course, starting on February 22nd, we will have the Leap Day forecast and our seven day outlook here at the StormWatch 4 Weather Center!

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