Isobar's weather review 2013.02.06

Written 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.”

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