February is a frigid month across much of the USA. But it begins with an odd bit of Americana that instills hope for warmer weather.
To many Americans, February 2 means it’s Groundhog Day. This ritual, begun in the late 1800s by German settlers in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, depends on whether a large rodent (groundhog) sees its shadow upon being pulled from hibernation. If it “sees” the shadow, then winter weather will last another six weeks (roughly until the first day of spring). But, if the groundhog does not see his shadow, then spring weather will come sooner.
Two of the USA’s favorite professional sports—football and baseball—nearly cross paths in February. The first Sunday of February is typically reserved for the Super Bowl, the championship game of the NFL season. February is also when professional baseball teams start warming up for the season, with spring training camps in Florida and Arizona.
The biggest event that typically happens during February (though sometimes in early March) is Mardi Gras. New Orleans is the center of the USA’s Mardi Gras universe, but there are also famous pre-Lenten festivals in other cities in Louisiana as well as in Mobile, Alabama; Galveston, Texas; and Saint Louis, Missouri.
February Weather in the USA
Still, freezing temps and snow are common for much of February across the northern half of the country. Expect below-zero temperatures in New England and heavy snowfalls in the Midwest. The Mid-Atlantic may also get snow—or, more typically, ice and freezing rain—during February.
The Pacific Northwest’s rainy season runs from October through March, so February days in Seattle and Portland typically mean clouds and rain.
The Southeast and Southwest regions start to see mild temperatures in February, as winter transitions to spring. This is why Florida and Arizona are locations for Major League Baseball’s spring training during February.
February Average Temperatures
Below are the average temperatures in some of the most popular U.S. destinations.
|City||Average High/Low °F||Average High/Low °C|
|New York City||43 / 29 F||6 / -2 C|
|Los Angeles||69 / 51 F||21 / 11 C|
|Chicago||36 / 26 F||2 / -3 C|
|Washington, D.C.||47 / 27 F||8 / -3 C|
|Las Vegas||66 /33 F||19 / 1 C|
|San Francisco||61 / 48 F||16 /9 C|
|Honolulu||81 / 65 F||27 /18 C|
|Miami||75 / 64 F||24 /18 C|
|New Orleans||66 /47 F||19 /8 C|
February Major Holidays, Events and Observances
- Black History Month
- First Sunday in February – Super Bowl
- February 2 – Groundhog Day
- As early as February 3 – Mardi Gras
- February 14 – Valentine’s Day
- Third Monday of February – President’s Day (Federal Holiday)
February Calendar: U.S. Anniversaries and Events
- Groundhog Day
- Earliest possible date for Mardi Gras
- Birth of Ronald Reagan (1911)
- Birth of Abraham Lincoln (1809)
- Valentine’s Day
- Oregon becomes the 33rd U.S. state (1859)
- Arizona becomes the 48th U.S. state (1912)
- Birth of George Washington (1732)
- Birth of William Frederick Cody (1846), later to become known as Buffalo Bill