A bonkers February with stretches of extremely high temperatures mixed periodically with plunging mercury is the latest chilling warning about global warming.
Single-day record highs as well as multiple-day heat waves broke more than 248 month-to-date records for February in spots across the nation, according to the National Center for Environmental Information.
Temperatures in Oklahoma, the home state of new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, a climate change skeptic, nearly reached triple digits earlier this month. The town of Mangum hit an all-time record Feb. 11 of 99 degrees, more than 40 degrees above the average February high.
The rest of the Southern Plains also broke records, and the Texas towns of Midland, Lubbock and Wichita Falls all racked up temperatures in the 90s the same week. A cold snap followed the heat wave in the region, with temperatures dropping as much as 50 degrees.
Milwaukee’s 71 degrees this Wednesday was the highest temperature ever recorded in the state in the winter. (The typical high temperature for the day is 34.5 degrees). It was also the fourth time in February the city hit temperatures over 60 degrees, another all-time record for the state, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Boston hit 68 degrees Thursday, busting its previous highest temperature of 65 degrees in 1990. All-time record highs for the month of February were broken Thursday in Burlington (63 degrees) and Montpelier, Vermont (63 degrees).
Denver broke its third record of the month last Thursday, topping out at 75 degrees, a full 5 degrees hotter than the date’s previous record, according to the National Weather Service. Snow was back a week later Friday.
Unseasonably warm days before cold snaps can have a devastating impact on the environment. Trees and flowers can blossom early in the warm weather, and the buds can then freeze and wither in following cold weather.
The freaky February is expected to continue with more of the same with dozens of new broken records.