Fairly Typical January (Winter) Weather
By Russell Russ
During all of 2017 Norfolk only reached zero or below zero five times. January 2018 has already matched that. In January 2017 Norfolk had only three days with low temperatures in the single digits or lower. This January had ten days in the single digits or lower. December was also colder than normal. Of those five days in 2017 with temperatures of zero or below, four of them occurred in December. Winter is back, at least in December and January it was.
January’s average mean temperature of 19.8 degrees was just 1.0 degree below normal. Norfolk’s warmest January on record was in 2002 with an average temperature of 31.7 degrees and the coldest was in 1982 with 11.7 degrees. The month’s high temperature of 58 degrees was observed on January 12. This was a record high for that date, beating the old high of 52 set in 1932 and 2017. The low temperature of minus 10 degrees was observed on January 7. There were two low temperature records this month, January 1 with minus 8 tied the previous 1964 record and the minus 10 on January 12 surpassed the previous record of minus 7 set in 1942.
January’s total precipitation of 5.55 inches was 1.54 inches above normal. Not that impressive, but it was Norfolk’s 16th wettest January in the last 87 years. The wettest January was in 1979 with 11.77 inches. The monthly snowfall total of 20.2 inches was just 0.7 inch below normal. The snowiest January was in 1987 with 50.5 inches. The 2017-2018 winter season, October through January, snowfall amount of 36.6 inches is 8.8 inches below normal.
The biggest weather story from January was probably the flooding that occurred after the rapid warm-up and heavy rainfall on January 11-13. Going from record lows to record highs in a matter of days, plus getting 2.62 inches of rain on top of our 10 inches of snow on the ground certainly added to flooding concerns. For people along the Housatonic and Connecticut Rivers it was ice jam issues, fairly uncommon for us here in Southern New England.
A look at February’s weather through mid-month shows that the wild swings in temperature and some fairly impressive rainfall totals continue to be a factor. Temperatures were running nearly 4 degrees above normal with precipitation already about a half inch above the normal monthly amount. With record warmth on February 12 and more in the forecast for February 20-22 it seems our up and down winter will continue. On the plus side, the February warm-up has resulted in Great Mountain Forest’s second earliest maple sap collection in over 70 years.