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February 2017: The warmest ever in New Jersey

New Jersey State Climatologist Dr. Dave Robinson
New Jersey State Climatologist Dr. Dave Robinson, Rutgers University (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

New Jersey just experienced its warmest February ever, based on records going back to 1895.

New Jersey State Climatologist Dave Robinson at Rutgers University says the final numbers aren’t in just yet, but he’s “absolutely confident” the average temperature for February 2017 will break the previous record set in 1998 by perhaps a half-degree or more.

“The average for February is going to be a little over 39 degrees, which will put it more than six degrees above normal,” Robinson told New Jersey 101.5.

The state’s average February temperatures were more in line with a typical March, he said.

Multiple days saw temperatures top 60 degrees somewhere in the Garden State, and six days hit or surpassed the 70-degree mark, he said.

One of those days, Friday the 24th, registered the second-warmest temperature reading on record for New Jersey. The mercury in Hamilton, Mercer County, hit 78 on Friday, second only to an 80-degree reading on Feb. 25 in Pleasantville 87 years ago.

For the first time ever, from Thursday to Saturday, thermometers in New Brunswick registered three straight February days of 70-plus degrees.

Statewide snowfall in February averaged 4.7 inches, which is more than three inches below normal.

The winter overall produced just under 13 inches of snowfall on average statewide, 8.1 inches short of normal. Fourteen snow events since the start of the season dropped two or more inches of snow somewhere in the state, according to Robinson, and there were only two substantial, plowable snow events — one in early January and one in early February.

The end of February marked the end of climatological winter. With an average of 37.3 degrees, it ranked as the sixth-mildest winter on record for New Jersey.

Dan Zarrow's NJ forecast

The unseasonable temperatures continue into March. Similar to Saturday, a very warm Wednesday is expected to give into strong thunderstorms.

Robinson said the warm spell is not unique to New Jersey. February shattered thousands of high-temperature records across the country.

“We’re seeing examples of global warming and the repercussions of that warming everywhere around the world, and there’s a human fingerprint on it,” he said.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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