Weather Service: Record-tying February warm front won’t last

Published 2:08 pm Thursday, February 23, 2023

Smithfield’s record-tying warm temperatures today won’t last, according to the National Weather Service.

As of 1 p.m., air temperatures for the region were holding at 79 degrees, according to the NWS forecast for Smithfield. The last time southeastern Virginia saw a 79-degree high for Feb. 23, according to NWS historical data, was in 1975. 

NWS Meteorologist Alec Butner said Friday temperatures will still be above average, with highs in the upper 60s, but the typical winter cold of late February should return by Sunday.

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A warm front originating from a high-pressure system in Bermuda and the southeast Atlantic Ocean lifted over the southeastern United States during the evening hours Wednesday night, Butner said, bringing a rare winter heat wave to states south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Meanwhile, midwest and northeastern states are grappling with a prolonged winter storm that’s expected to bring heavy snow and blizzard conditions to the Great Lakes area, coupled with temperatures 30 to 40 degrees below average.

Air temperatures peaked just before 4 p.m. Thursday at 81ºF, one degree below the all-time high reported for the month.

According to NWS data, the Norfolk region has seen a high of 82 degrees in February only four times since 1890, three of which have occurred since 1997.