February ends with extreme and unusual heat-WMO


The month of February has ended with extreme heat in the southern hemisphere summer and high temperatures atypical of the northern hemisphere winter. The WMO community is monitoring the state of the climate and providing timely forecasts and warnings to protect lives and livelihoods.

Parts of North and South America, northwest and southeast Africa, southeast and far eastern Asia, western Australia and Europe all saw record-breaking temperatures, either on a daily basis or for the entire month.

“The anomalous heat is consistent with the persisting warming observed since June 2023, with seven consecutive new global monthly temperature records, including January 2024. Global sea surface temperatures are record high. Whilst the El Niño event has stoked temperatures in some parts of the world, human induced climate change is the long-term major contributing factor,” says Alvaro Silva, a climatologist working with WMO.

On the other hand, a large part of north-western Canada, central Asia and from southern central Siberia to south-eastern China witnessed exceptional cold during the last week of the month.

The meteorological winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere finish at the end of February.


Many countries throughout Africa suffered intense heat, with new February daytime and overnight temperature records. Southern Africa (including Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe) saw temperatures 4-5°C above the February average.

Parts of the Sahel and West Africa also saw new monthly temperature records.


Parts of southeast Asia were gripped by severe heat conditions, including Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Temperatures frequently soared into the high 30’s – well above the seasonal average.

For example, Saravanh in southern Lao People’s Democratic Republic recorded 38.2 °C on 21 February (the average February maximum temperature in this region is around 31-32 °C).

Minimum overnight temperatures were also well above average in the region. Temperatures on 18-20 February also broke previous records for February in many locations of southern and eastern China, and in Japan.


Exceptionally high temperatures affected Western Australia. The city of Perth reached 40° C seven times during February, its most in any single month.

The town of Carnarvon had a temperature of 49.9 °C on 18 February – a new station record and the second highest February temperature on record for Australia.

Emu Creek station measured 49.1 °C on 22 February. It had four successive days of 48 °C or above from 17-20 February, the first time this has happened at any Australian site.

Severe heatwave warnings remain in place in some parts of central Western Australia during the last week of February.


Preliminary estimates show that much of Europe (except for the north) had a February average temperature at least 2 °C warmer than normal. Some parts of central and southeastern Europe have even higher deviations from normal at 4–6 °C.

Thus, February 2024 was likely the warmest or one of the warmest months of February on record in this area.

Winter 2023/24 was 2–3 °C warmer than normal in southeastern Europe and might also be record warm at least for some parts. There was a sharp contrast between a cold Northern Europe and much warmer middle and subtropical latitudes, according to the Deutscher Wetterdienst, which acts as a WMO regional climate monitoring centre for Europe.

In late February 2024, a significant warm spell occurred in eastern central Europe and southeastern Europe. Maximum temperatures reached 20 °C and higher in some locations, or more than 10 °C above the average for February.

Thus, daily maximum temperatures were 15-20 °C across an area between southeastern Poland and the northern Balkans on 27 February. This was at least 12 °C above the 1991-2020 normal and thus very high for late winter. On 24 February, daily maxima exceeded 20 °C in southern Romania and northern Bulgaria with deviations of more than 14 °C above normal.

The station Lviv in western Ukraine, with data back to 1824, noted a new February record at 17.8 °C.

Minimum overnight temperatures also were high for late winter. Large parts of this area recorded minimum temperatures of 5-10 °C, sometimes even above 10 °C. Frost,which is common for late February even in the “modern” 1991-2020 climate, was notable by its absence.

Low-pressure systems moving from the North Atlantic into Europe played a role in the warmth. Some of them had a path over Northern Europe, others further south to the Mediterranean. The latter was also the case for the low-pressure system “Dorothea”, which was located over the western Mediterranean on 27 February 2024. East of Dorothea, warm subtropical air from North Africa was led to Southeastern and eastern Central Europe, where the high temperatures were measured.

In combination with other factors (global warming and especially warming of the sea surface of the Mediterranean) this can cause extremely high temperatures with duration of several days.

North America

In the United States, warm conditions have dominated much of the mid-section of the country due to a dry and warm air mass under the influence of a high-pressure system.  A large area of record high temperatures affected much of this region on 26 and 27 February before giving way to more seasonal and much colder weather.

According to preliminary data from the US National Weather Service, about 78 locations across the country tied or broke a record high on 26 February, and 69 on 27 February. Overnight minimum temperatures were also exceptionally high. On 27 February, about 70 stations tied or broke previous records, including Houston with 70°F (21.1 °C). Daily and monthly records span from in the state of Minnesota near the Canadian border to Texas near the Mexican border.

The highest temperature was recorded in Killeen/Fort Hood in Texas at 100 °F (37.8 °C). Wildfires swept across the Texas Panhandle, with the Smokehouse Creek fire described as the second largest in the history of Texas. A Red Flag Warning was active in the Plains, what means critical fire weather conditions.

South America

High temperatures and extended drought in several regions of South America led to an upsurge in fires in February.

High wildfire intensity and emissions have been observed in the northern Amazon rainforest, particularly in the Brazilian state of Roraima, leading to the highest carbon emissions recorded for February since at least 2003, not only for Roraima but for Brazil as whole. Other countries in South America, such as Venezuela and Bolivia, are also experiencing the highest emissions since 2003 for the same period, according to the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service.

Elevated temperatures, dry soils and strong winds fanned the worst wildfires in recent history in Chile in early February. More than 132 people were reported killed and more than 20,000 people were affected, mostly in the Valparaíso region. More than 6 000 hectares of land were burned by the devastating fires.