Above Normal Precipitation Continues
By Russell Russ
The year of 2018 was Norfolk’s 7th wettest year since 1932. It was also Norfolk’s 11th warmest year. Overall, the first month of 2019 picked up right where 2018 left off, it was wetter than normal and a little warmer than normal. January was not a monster winter weather month by any means, but for the most part it did have that winter look and feel to it. It even came with a brief January thaw.
January’s average mean temperature of 21.7 degrees was just 0.9 degree above 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. January’s low temperature of minus 12 degrees was observed on two dates, January 21 and 31. The minus 12 on January 21 was a new record low for that date, beating the minus 11 set back in 1961. The month’s high temperature of 53 degrees was observed on January 24 and it was a record high for that date, beating the old high of 52 set in 1938. These record low and high temperatures are not all that unusual for January, what was unusual was the fact that they occurred only 78 hours apart. That is a temperature swing of 65 degrees from a Monday morning to a Thursday afternoon – in January.
January’s total precipitation of 5.98 inches was 1.96 inches above normal. Not that impressive, but it was Norfolk’s 11th wettest January over the last 88 years and it was Norfolk’s 8th consecutive month with above normal precipitation. The wettest January was in 1979 with 11.77 inches and the driest was in 1970 with just 0.74 inches.
The monthly snowfall total of 15.4 inches was 5.4 inches below normal. The snowiest January was in 1987 with 50.5 inches and the least snowy was in 1980 with just 2.6 inches. The 2018-2019 winter season, October through January, snowfall amount of 32.7 inches is 12.5 inches below normal, it is also 3.9 inches below where we were at last year through January. It has not been a very snowy winter to date, much to the dismay of skiers and television weather personalities, but there has been snow in Norfolk this winter. Strangely enough, the largest snowstorm so far this winter came in mid-November with a total snowfall of 8.5 inches.
A look at February’s weather through mid-month shows that wild swings in temperature continue to be a story for this winter. Early February’s big temperature swing was a reading of minus 9 on February 1 to a record high of 57 on February 4. With all of the ups and downs considered, through mid-month, temperatures were running about 3 degrees above normal. Total precipitation and snowfall were about normal. Perhaps not in all locations, but at the weather station and in higher elevations there was snow on the ground ranging from just a trace to 7 inches every day through mid-month. Winter is here, it is not making a strong showing so far this year, but it is here. Snow lovers and television weather personalities should not give up hope just yet, March and even April in Norfolk can be snowy.