February weather in Milwaukee is a month of extremes

February is Milwaukee's second snowiest and coldest month of the year only behind January – but can have even more ridiculous extremes as we approach March. 

From 42 inches of snow in 1974, to high temperatures over 70 degrees in 2017, literally anything can happen. 

On average, we see just under a foot of total accumulation throughout the month. In 2022, we were relatively quiet and didn't even receive 10 inches, which was well below the record maximum. 

February usually brings plenty of snow for the Milwaukee area

It's a month when our average highs and lows increase rapidly, and our period of daylight is on the rise. We start the month with average highs near freezing, but by the Feb. 28 we get to nearly 40 degrees!

However, February is also when we've recorded our all-time coldest temperature. On Feb. 3, 1996, Milwaukee got down to -26 degrees for a morning low. That makes the 2019s Polar Vortex look like nothing.

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February weather statistics for the Milwaukee area

Twenty-six degrees below zero has occurred one other time: Jan. 17, 1982. That cold air is notable because it was also -23 degrees the day before. 

But factoring in how cold air holds less moisture, winter is one of our driest periods of the year in terms of total precipitation. February as a whole is our driest month of the year. It averages just a little over an inch and a half of total precipitation during the month. In perspective, we get almost three times that in June.