For parts of the U.S., the weather seemed to "leap" right into spring during February 2020. For others, the month was mixed with colder weather mixed in-between periods of milder weather. With very few exceptions, February was a month to love if you hate snow and a month to hate if you love snow. Let's dig into the weather trends that made February 2020:


TEMPERATURE TRENDS


For the U.S. as a whole, temperatures trended warmer than last year. The West and North Central U.S. trended much warmer than last year and warmer than normal. Temperatures on the East Coast were a bit more variable with colder periods mixed between stretches of warmer temperature trends. However, a majority of the colder periods occurred near or on the weekends in February.

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Much warmer trends on the West Coast will have been favorable for early spring seasonal merchandise like apparel, sun care, and cold beverages. The East will have seen mixed results, although with the weekends often being colder this may have tipped the scales towards less favorable weather conditions for early spring categories.


PRECIPITATION TRENDS


This was the driest February in 3 years for the U.S. as a whole but still wetter than normal. Very dry in the Southwest where this was the driest February in 29+ years. Drier trends compared to last year stretched from the Northwest to the Northeast. The South was a completely different story with several heavy rain events causing flooding across the region. Severe weather rocked the Southeast at various points throughout the month making this the most active February for severe weather in about 3 years. The Mid-Atlantic saw a bout of severe weather very near the I-95 corridor towards the end of the first week of the month.

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Drier weather will have been favorable for store traffic across a large portion of the U.S. In the South, however, frequent heavy rain events and flooding will have been a headwind for store traffic. Clean-up categories, however, will have likely seen stronger demand, this includes things like bleach, desiccants, wet vacuums, and paint.


SNOWFALL TRENDS


Snowfall was the least in 8 years for the U.S. as a whole. Snowfall was much less than last year and normal on the West Coast. The only region in the U.S. to see a snowier February was the Southeast where this was the snowiest February in 4 years. In fact, the 0.3'' of snow that fell in Charlotte, NC on February 20th matched the total 2019/2020 season snowfall total year-to-date in Philadelphia, PA. Snow has been scarce in this Northeastern city, while some southern cities have seen just as much or more snow this season.

PHL_CLT_SeasonalSnow2020BlogLess snowfall will have been favorable for store traffic across a large portion of the U.S. but unfavorable for snow removal categories like shovels, rock salt, and ice scrapers. As we neared the end of winter season, products like shovels and snow toys crowded the shelves of many retailers in the Mid-Atlantic after a virtually snow-less season to date.


SUMMARY


While February is often synonymous with cold and snowy weather, this year many saw a reprieve from the harshest of winter's weather. The weather exception this month was the Southeast where not only did it trend colder but it was also wetter and snowier. Overall, retailers should have seen stronger early season spring category demand in the West while results in the East will have been mixed due to varying temperature trends throughout the month.