Extreme Temperature Diary- Monday February 26th, 2024/Main Topic: Eye Opening Spate of Record Warmth Across U.S. At End of February

Dallas could hit 95 degrees as warm spell threatens hundreds of records

A huge area of high temperatures 30 or more degrees above normal in the central states is sweeping eastward

By Ian Livingston

It’s feeling more like early summer than late winter across much of the southern and central United States as February comes to an end.

Through midweek, most of the Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast will witness temperatures around 30 degrees above average or even higher. This brings 60s and 70s to the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region, with 80s and 90s in the central and southern Plains and Mid-South. Dallas could hit 90 to 95 degrees Monday, typical levels for late June or even early July.

Hundreds of calendar-day warm-weather records will be threatened through midweek, and even some all-time highs for February may be in jeopardy. A potent low-pressure system sweeping the nation’s northern tier is drawing the unusually warm and moist air northward, before an intense cold front brings a sudden drop in temperatures.

Spells of abnormally warm weather have been frequent this winter, especially this month and in December. Human-caused climate change and the powerful El Niño climate pattern have fueled the warmth, and this winter could well become the warmest on record in the contiguous United States.

Because of the warmth, the extent of snow cover over the Lower 48 states is, by far, the lowest in at least the past two decades.

While a brief blast of cold weather will arrive midweek, there’s another surge of unseasonably warm air poised to spread over the nation to begin March.

Monday’s record warmth

Dozens of record highs are forecast from Texas through the Upper Midwest. Across the southern Plains, temperatures are set to soar into the 80s and 90s while 60s swell as far north as North Dakota and Minnesota, including Bismarck and Minneapolis.

Mid-90s are forecast to be common across central and southern Texas — and a few spots could even tickle the century mark.

Dallas is forecast to reach 92 degrees, which would be a calendar-day record. If it gets that hot, it will mark its highest temperature so early in the year since 1996, when it was 95 on Feb. 21 and 93 on Feb. 22, according to NOAA data; it last hit 90 on Feb. 21 last year. Dallas’s highest February temperature on record is 96 degrees, set on the 25th in 1904.

Other locations among those that could set calendar-day records on Monday include:

  • Laredo, Tex.: 95 degrees
  • Oklahoma City: 86 degrees
  • Topeka, Kan.: 83 degrees (would tie February record)
  • Grand Island, Neb.: 80 degrees (would tie February record)
  • Des Moines: 76 degrees (would be second-warmest on record for February)
  • Rapid City, S.D.: 68 degrees


Widespread record warm low temperatures, 20 to 35 degrees above normal, are predicted from Central Texas to the Great Lakes on Tuesday. The lows are forecast to be above freezing as far north as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In Dallas, Tuesday’s low may only a settle at 70 degrees.

During the afternoon, the warmest air will shift eastward as a cold front slices through the Plains, focusing the potential for record highs from the South into the Great Lakes. Some warmth will also start to trickle into the Northeast.

The follow locations are among those forecast to post record highs on Tuesday:

  • Waco, Tex.: 86 degrees
  • Memphis: 82 degrees (would mark February record)
  • St Louis: 82 degrees
  • Springfield, Ill.: 78 degrees (would tie February record)
  • Green Bay, Wis.: 67 degrees (would mark February record)
  • Lansing, Mich: 66 degrees


Wednesday will mark the second straight morning during which well over 100 record warm lows are in jeopardy, particularly from the Ohio Valley to the East Coast. In a number of the locations that challenge records, the predicted low temperature will be warmer than the average afternoon high, including:

  • Washington, D.C.: Forecast low of 57 degrees (compared to an average high of 52 degrees)
  • New York City: Forecast low of 50 degrees (compared to an average high of 45 degrees)
  • Boston: Forecast low 48 degrees (compared to an average high of 42 degrees)

Not as many record afternoon highs are predicted compared to Monday and Tuesday as the cold front advances eastward. Nonetheless, a dozen or so could be threatened in an area focused from the Mid-Atlantic to New England, including in these locations:

  • Buffalo: 66 degrees
  • Wilmington, Del.: 65 degrees
  • Caribou, Maine: 50 degrees

By Thursday, the potential for record warmth will be temporarily over as the cold front pushes off the East Coast.

What will early March bring?

The first day or two of March will produce temperatures about 10 degrees below average for much of the central and eastern United States. But it won’t be long before another surge of warmth.

The next round, forecast for the weekend into early next week, will affect many of the same areas as the one ongoing but may not be quite as intense.

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