January Climate Report

There are no big surprises here. January 2020 in the Valley was much warmer and wetter than normal. Our average temperature for the month came in a whopping 6.9° above average for the month. That made this January the second warmest in modern times beaten only by 2006 with an average of 39.8° for the month.

All totaled, there were only six days during the month when temperatures fell below climate averages for the day. Our warmest day of the month (71° on the 11th) was 32° above average for that day.

It was also one of the least snowiest Januaries on record. We saw about 1.4″ of snowfall this past month. Usually, we get around 8-inches of snow in January. Precipitation, as a whole, was higher than normal with a total of 3.50″.

Will winter finally show up in February? It’s difficult to say for sure. Our climate models have been advertising the prospects of the warmer than average temperature pattern carrying into February. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center indicates that odds favor warmer than average temperatures for the month.

Note that this doesn’t mean we’ll break out in the 60s and 70s or that there won’t be any cold days this month. Chances are we haven’t seen the end of snow and there will be some colder than average days. But as a whole, the outlook calls for a warmer than average month by the time it’s all said and done.

February may also bring some unsettled weather. While our area is not within the areas of higher than normal precipitation, there are signs of a more active jet stream setting up that will allow for a more favorable storm track. This may bring us more opportunities for cold rain and, yes. some snow events yet.

Most of us know that it doesn’t take extreme cold to produce a decent snow event. Winter is not over and I wouldn’t give up on at least some snow.

Whether or not any snow sticks enough for any impacts is another factor we need to look at – especially in late February. The angle of the sun begins to increase noticeably this month and that brings higher amounts of solar radiation. The sun’s angle in the sky increases from about 32° to 41° at solar noon here in the Valley. That increasing solar radiation, even on cloudy days, plays a big roll in surface temperatures and as such, the ability for the snow to remain cold enough to stick.

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