But first, what is average? In the grand view, we have limited data. The National Weather Service maintains a record going back to 1898. Between 1898 and 1950, the weather station site moved 4 times. This complicates the precipitation record because of the effects terrain can play on precipitation amounts. Precipitation has been measured at the Flagstaff airport since 1950.
In the back of my head, I thought average February precipitation was about 2 inches. As I looked quickly at the last few years, 2 inches seemed like a stretch. The last ten years averaged out at 1.47 inches. Ouch! What about the rest of the data? I went back, 10 years at a time, to look at how the averages change.
Wow! The last decade was less than half of the 1987-1996 average. The standard deviation was 0.7 inches across this set of data. Since 1950, the average is 1.98 inches.
Back to the simply question, will Flagstaff get average precipitation in February? From a total water precipitation point of view, yes. Below is the total projected precipitation through the end of the month from the GFS model via Tropical Tidbits. It looks like Flagstaff is in the 1.5-2.0 inches range.
On the other hand, much of it will be rain, not snow. That doesn’t seem to be average. For this weekend’s storm, the snow levels are projected to be high, 8000-9000 feet.