Isobar's weather review 2013.02.06

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

What do you remember most about January's weather—all those days in the 50s or all those days in the single digits? Or both of them—the way it changed from warm to cold to warm to cold?

"There's nothing unusual about a January thaw," said George Isobar, who collects weather data in Morenci for the National Weather Service, "but two January thaws is a little odd. We started the month off with single-digit temperatures, then they came back starting Jan. 21. Now they're here once more in early February—all sandwiched around some really mild days."

The high of 63° on Jan. 30 broke an old record set in Toledo. Actually it smashed the old record. The previous high temperature for that day of 56° was set way back in 1880.

Sixty degrees was recorded on the 12th in Morenci, also, plus there were two days in the 50s and three in the upper 40s. Despite the really cold days to balance things out, the mean temperature for the month figured out at 2.5° above average.

There were six single-digit mornings, including two with 0° readings. Twenty-seven mornings started off below freezing.

Precipitation ended about an inch above normal at 3.02 inches, but it wasn't snow that made much of a difference.

"We had only 2.3 inches fall for the month," Isobar said. "There were four inches on the ground the first few days of the month, but all of that fell in December."

The biggest snowfall—1.1 inches—fell on the 25th, but it didn't last long with 1.2 inches of rain falling in the next few days. The long-term average snowfall for January is about nine inches.

If it's not the temperature swings you remember about January, maybe it's the wind, Isobar suggested. The average windspeed measured in Toledo was nearly 10 miles an hour for the month and there were gusts above 20 on every day but four. The strongest gust measured came Jan. 20 with 56 miles an hour. The final two days of the month brought gusts in the 40s.

Freezing rain and ice pellets fell on Jan. 27 and 28, canceling school throughout the region.

FEBRUARY—"It really felt like winter on the weekend," Isobar said. Snow all day Saturday, a wind chill in single-digits by evening, then snow continuing into Sunday.

Some years February finishes as the snowiest month of the year, he said. In 1982, for example, 16.6 inches fell in February and 1988 had 15.7. There was more than 16 inches in 1994 and 10.5 as recent as 2007.

"We certainly have a good start toward this month becoming the snowiest of this season," Isobar said. "Then again, it wouldn't take much to achieve that status. And who knows, maybe the February thaw is on the horizon."

How is this for a what’s-coming-up report? Judy Whaley spotted half a dozen robins Saturday at her rural Fayette home on County Road N.

“Let’s assume those are travelers,” Isobar said, “and not the ones that hang out in the woods all winter.”

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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