This January has had a bit of everything but how does it compare to the past few years?
It hit the upper 60s in parts of the region this morning ahead of a strong cold front. This is about 15 to 20 degrees above the normal highs for this time of year but it isn't even the warmest it's reached in January over the past few years. Also keep in mind the high so far today at Reagan National Airport is still 12 degrees below our record high of 75 for the 27th of January. Take a look at the past 6 January's below to see how many times it hit 60 degrees, what the high temperature was for the month, how much snow was reported and what the monthly temperature departure was.
- Climotological data the past 6 January's
Some interesting things to note from just the past few years of data is January 2007 and 2008 were both warmer than this month with temperature departures greater than 5 degrees. Also, 4 of the past 6 January's have reached 68 degrees or higher. I thought it was interesting that the big snowy winter of 2010 had two days in January above 60 degrees, one of which nearing the 70 degree mark. Also, we have already surpassed snow totals for January 2007 and 2008. Only one of the past 6 years recorded snowfall above average (2010 - 56.1" record).
So what can we attribute this warm weather to? There are numerous factors involved when we talk about the weather patterns that ultimately affect the United States. Everything from La Nina and El Nino, to the North American Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation and even oscillations in the Pacific make a great difference in what happens with weather even on the east coast. Doug and I are actually going to be doing a peice in February on exactly what has been occurring so far this winter to explain why it's so warm. Until then, I came across a great article explaining some of these circulations by Kevin Myatt down in Roanoke, VA. Be sure to check it out and click on the map in the lower left portion of the aritcle to get an idea of some of these circulations.