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February 2021 tied for 6th-coldest on record in Des Moines

An Arctic blast sent temperatures well below-average for 17 days in a row during February.

DES MOINES, Iowa — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video featured above originally aired Feb. 16, 2021

Even though the last few days of February were fairly pleasant in central Iowa, February will make history as a particularly frigid month for Des Moines.

The average temperature for Des Moines in February 2021 was 15.2°, which ties February 1929 for the sixth-coldest February on record in the city. 

Only a handful of past years reported a February average temperature lower than 15.2°:

  • February 1936: 8.0°
  • February 1978: 13.3°
  • February 1979: 13.8°
  • February 1885: 14.4°
  • February 1905: 14.8°

Of course, this means February was quite a bit below average, too. 

In fact, an overall average temperature of 15.2° is 12.2° below February's normal average temperature of 27.4°.

The coldest morning in February 2021 occurred on Feb. 16, when the city of Des Moines recorded a low temperature of -17°. 

On that same morning, parts of northern Iowa fell to the -20s for air temperatures, with wind chills as low as the -30s and -40s. 

Just two days prior, on Feb 14, Des Moines experienced its coldest afternoon of the month, with a record-breaking high temperature of only -4°.

By the end of February, Des Moines climbed out of the deep freeze to a peak high temperature of 53° on the 27th. 

RELATED: MidAmerican warns energy bills will be higher for months

This late-month warm-up was unfortunately not enough to dramatically affect the month's average temperature. 

Looking ahead to the month of March, temperatures typically increase to a more pleasant range.

In Des Moines, the average high temperature in March is 49°, while the average low temperature sits just below freezing at 30°.

And if the forecast for the first 10 days is any indication, March 2021 may write an entirely different story than its monthly predecessor. 

RELATED: LOCAL 5 FORECAST: Cool today, but more glorious weather is on the way

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