Cool conditions prevailed in the West
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — After near-record warmth last winter, January 2013 felt like a cold month in many parts of the country, but how cold was it really?
Not all that chilly, according to experts with AccuWeather.com, who compiled stats showing that many areas still saw readings well above the historic long-term average.
The West was the exception, where several Arctic air invasions combined with snow-covered ground and atmospheric inversions to keep temperatures on the cool side.
Denver, for example, reported an average monthly temperature of 30.3 degrees, which is 0.4 degrees below the 30-year average. Denver’s warmest January on record was in 1986, at 40.3 degrees. The coldest January on record was in 1930, at 16.9 degrees.
Dillon was also cooler than average for the month, with the average daily maximum January temperature at 28.4 degrees, compared to the historic average of 31.2 degrees, based on records going back to 1909. The average January 2013 minimum temperature at Dillon was minus 2.5 degrees, compared to the historic average of minus 1 degree.
Boston reported a few cold readings last month, but the Accuweather.com tally shows that the monthly average temperature was still 2.5 degrees above the historic average for the past 30 years. If it felt cold, it may have been because January 2012 was a full 5 degrees warmer than average.
Similar conditions prevailed in New York City, where the average high for January 2013 was also 2.5 degrees above average, compared to 4.6 degrees above average in 2012.
A few more comparisons, with January 2012 readings first, compared to January 2013 departures from average:
Detroit: 5.1 vs. +3.3
Chicago: +6.5 vs. +2.8
Minneapolis: +7.7 vs. +1.3
Fargo: +10.3 vs. +1.5
Atlanta: +5.8 vs. +6.6
New Orleans: +7.4 vs. +3.2
Dallas: +4.4 vs. +3.1
Phoenix: +2.3 vs. -2.8
Sacramento: +1.5 vs. -2.2
Seattle: -2.3 vs. -3.8
Very warm temperatures in the middle of the month in some regions drove the average temperatures upward, especially in the mid-Atlantic and New England, where the second week of January saw readings running between 10-15 degrees above normal.
Even across the northern Plains, temperatures were well above normal in the second week of the month before crashing down during the middle and later part.
The only real zone of below-normal temperatures was across the Intermountain West and the Pacific Northwest where shots of cold air were common in during the month.
The cold air was even trapped at the surface, leading to widespread bouts of freezing fog in the interior valleys, which caused temperatures to remain well below average.
So, the moral of the story is that January was quite a bit colder than last year across the country, however, still above average over the eastern two-thirds.