Leap Day Weather

February 27th, 2012 at 10:08 am by under Weather

Since the Earth actually takes about 365 days and a little less than 6 hours to make a complete trip around the sun, every 4 years we make up the added hours with a Leap Day.  However, because the math doesn’t work perfectly, every 100 years there is not a Leap Day.  Again, that math doesn’t work perfectly either, so every 400 years there IS a Leap Day.  Following yet?  So Leap Day happens this year in 2012, and did in 2000, but not in 1900 or 2100, and will again in 2400.  Ok, so what is the weather like on Leap Day here in Austin?  Not too much different that what you would find on February 28th or March 1st.  I went to the files that the National Climatic Data Center keeps and searched the records from 1940-2008 (18 leap days) and found some interesting data.  Normally speaking for a day that falls between February 28th-March 1st, at Camp Mabry a normal high temp is 68, and a normal low temp is 48, with precipitation average of 0.07″.  According to the National Weather Service, the records for the date are 92 (1940), 30 (1924), and 0.53″ in 1996.

Year High Low Precip
2008 81 58 0.00
2004 65 50 0.19
2000 78 64 0.00
1996 43 34 0.53
1992 81 50 0.00
1988 81 60 0.00
1984 56 31 0.00
1980 81 46 0.08
1976 81 61 0.00
1972 78 62 0.00
1968 48 33 0.00
1964 58 40 0.00
1960 43 31 0.16
1956 73 40 0.00
1952 83 50 0.00
1948 68 53 0.07
1944 52 41 0.00
1940 90 51 0.00
Average 69 48 0.06

If you look at the table above you will notice some interesting recurring events.  I made some charts to give these a more visual understanding.

So based off of the data reported from the last 18 Leap Days here in Austin, you can see that the most typical weather is a high temp of 81 (happened 5 times 28%), low temp of 50 (happened 3 times 17%), with fair weather (happened 10 times 56%), and no precip. (happened 13 times 72%).  As crazy as it is that we recorded a high temp 81 degrees on 5 different Leap Days since 1940, I am going to stick with my forecast…  Mostly sunny skies, morning low of 62, afternoon high of 76.   For the record, that would be the 11th fair weather Leap Day since 1940, the 1st 76 degree day, and the 2nd morning low of 62!

 

 

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