Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Vermont's January Was Among The Warmest On Record

Data shows the eastern half of the nation was wamer
than normal in January, while parts of the west was
cold. If you click on the map and make it bigger and
easier to see, you'll note that the greatest departure
from normal of anywhere in the country was
in northwestern Vermont. 
We're starting February on a somewhat wintry note here in Vermont with a little snow falling, though  temperatureshough still on the mild side for mid-winter.

This somewhat wintry start to February is a contrast to January, which was certainly lacking in the winter department. Now we have the numbers to prove it.

The mean temperature in Burlington, Vermont for January was 29.7 degrees. That ties the mark for the third hottest January on record. Data goes back to the 1880s.

The month was a full 11 degrees warmer than normal in January, 2017.  Preliminary data suggests northwestern Vermont had the largest departure from normal of any place in the United States.

January, of course, is usually the deepest of winter months in Vermont, with long stretches that stay below freezing and frequent excursions at night to below zero levels at night.

Not this January. It never once got below zero during the month in January, and only nine days stayed below freezing. And not by much. Only two days stayed below 20 degrees for the full 24 hours. Also, nine days had above freezing readings for an overnight low temperature.

Snowfall was super wimpy in January, too, at least in low elevations like Burlington. Only 7.6 inches fell during the month against a normal of 21.1 inches for January.  However, we didn't quite make it into the Top 10 for least snowy Januaries.

Snow for the entire season is almost as sparse as the near record lows suffered last winter. So far, Burlington has received 28.6 inches of snow against a normal of 44.4 inches which should have fallen by now.

Elsewhere in Vermont, data from the National Weather Service in South Burlington showed most weather stations in the state, such as at Montpelier, St. Johnsbury and Springfield, averaged about seen to eight degrees warmer than normal - pretty damn substantial.

For those wondering about the lingering drought that is still waiting to potentially pounce back out at us in the spring, the news wasn't super. While Burlington's precipitation for the month was close to normal, most of the rest of the state show precipitation that waa about two thirds to three quarters of an inch below normal in January, 2017.

Vermont wasn't alone in its January warmth Many cities across the South and East had one of their mildest Januaries on record.  The northwestern part of the country - the upper half of the West Coast, and the northern Rockies, were on the cold side last month.

There were areas that were particularly hot, such as parts of the Gulf Coast states and New England. But, as I said, it appears that northwestern Vermont around Burlington took the national prize for warmth.   Preliminary data suggests no other part of the country was as far above mormal than the the northwestern corner of Vermont.

Of course, there's no telling what February will bring. But given a relatively warm December and a super warm January, this winter could be the second in a row that is among the top 10 warmest. It all depends on whether February continues the big warm streak.

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