National Summary Information – January 2013
Contiguous U.S. warmer and wetter than average for January
Drought persists for central U.S.; above-average January snow cover extent for Lower 48
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during January was 32.0°F, 1.6°F above the 20th century average, tying with 1958 as the 39th warmest January on record.
The January nationally-averaged precipitation total of 2.36 inches was 0.14 inch above the long-term average. The January precipitation average masked both wet and dry extremes across nation. Drought conditions remained entrenched across the Southeast, Great Plains, and the mountainous West.
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Note: The January Monthly Climate Report for the United States has several pages of supplemental information and dataregarding some of the weather/climate events from the month.
U.S. climate highlights: January
- January brought warmer-than-average conditions to the eastern half of the contiguous United States, despite several cold air outbreaks. The largest warm temperature departures from average were in the Southeast, whereGeorgia and Florida both had their 11th warmest January with monthly temperatures 5.7°F and 5.6°F above average, respectively.
- Below-average temperatures were anchored in the western United States. Nevada had its ninth coolest January on record with a monthly temperature 5.9°F below average andUtah had its eighth coolest January with temperatures 7.5°F below average.
- Wetter-than-average conditions stretched from the Southern Plains to the Mid-Atlantic, where Louisiana, Mississippi,Tennessee, Michigan, and Virginia each had January precipitation totals ranking among their ten wettest. The above-average precipitation generally missed the core drought areas of the central and southeastern United States.
- Drier-than-average conditions were observed along the West Coast, the central Rockies, and parts of the Northern Plains, Southeast, and Northeast. California, Connecticut, and Florida each had one of their ten driest January.
- According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the January snow cover extent for the contiguous U.S. was above average at 1.4 million square miles. Mountain snowpack was near-average for much on the West, with the exceptions of the Northwest where snowpack was much above average, and the Central and Southern Rockies where snowpack was much below average.
- Alaska was warmer and wetter than average. The statewide average temperature was 7.1°F above average and the precipitation total was 64 percent above average. Parts of the state had monthly temperatures more than 10°F above normal.
- According to the January 29 U.S. Drought Monitor report, 57.7 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought, smaller than the 61.1 percent at the beginning of the month. Drought conditions improved in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-Mississippi River Valley.