George Isobar looks at January weather 02.10.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

What January didn’t give, February will deliver. At least that’s the forecast.

“January was light on snow,” said Morenci climate observer George Isobar, “but only about three inches below average. What was really surprising about last month was the overall lack of precipitation.”

In local records going back 35 years, January was the driest on record.

“There were two years in the past decade that produced only .75 inches,” Isobar said, “but last month was even a little drier with just .73.”

Measurable precipitation fell on only seven days, he said, with the most falling Jan. 8 with .31 inches of melted precipitation. That fell in the form of 3.9 inches of snow—most of the total 5.8 inches measured.

The snow depth stood at just under five inches for a day, Isobar said, then settled a little for a depth of four inches for the next six days.

“As dry as it was, and with as little snow as there was, it’s surprising the ground was white for 17 days out of 31,” Isobar said.

There was also some freezing rain on two occasions, Isobar said, but nothing much.

“Frozen drizzle is more like it,” he added.

Temperature

Six single-digit mornings and a low of -3 were recorded, but the average for the month was still a little above normal.

The National Weather Service office in Toledo put the monthly average at 0.4° above normal.

“There were plenty of chilly mornings,” Isobar said, “and just about half of the daily averages for the month were below normal. In fact, six were double-digit below. But from Jan. 13 to 25, every day was above average.”

The high of 50° was recorded Jan. 25, but the break in the weather was brief.

“I don’t know if I’d call it a January thaw,” Isobar said. “Just one day at 50 and one at 42. Then it plunged back down.”

The low of -3° was recorded on the morning of Jan. 10.

FEBRUARY—The average snowfall for February in the past three decades comes in at 7.8 inches.

“We’ve had 1.7 inches so far,” Isobar said, “and if the predictions are close to accurate, we could have more than 7.8 inches by the time you’re reading these words.”

Up to 11 inches of snow was predicted for the area Tuesday and into Wednesday.

February generally produces less snow than December and January, Isobar said, but there have certainly been exceptions.

“We’ve topped 16 inches a couple of times, along with a 15 and a 14,” he said, “but it’s never come close to the other big months.”

And for temperatures?

Every day of the month has a record of below-zero, he said, except for one. The record for Feb. 29 is only 0°, but of course there is no Feb. 29 this year.

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