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NATIONAL STORM SUMMAY
1-3: Farther east, soaking rains returned across much of the South, erasing most vestiges of dryness triggering lowland flooding. Some of the heaviest rain, generally 2 to 4 inches or more, fell from eastern Texas to the southern Appalachians. On January 2, Midland, TX, netted a daily record total of 1.45 inches—much of which fell in the form of freezing rain, as snowfall totaled a trace and the high temperature peaked at 32°F. By January 3, snow returned to the Plains, resulting in daily-record totals in Billings, MT (6.0 inches); Dalhart, TX (4.0 inches); and Wichita, KS (3.9 inches). At least half of the contiguous U.S. was covered by snow from January 2-5, peaking of the contiguous U.S. was covered by snow from January 2-5, peaking at 54.1 percent on the 4th. Meanwhile, record-setting rainfall totals for January 3 included 4.35 inches in Meridian, MS; 3.19 inches in Cape Girardeau, MO; 2.47 inches in Tuscaloosa, AL; and 2.46 inches in Lake Charles, LA.
4-16: Precipitation was mostly light nationwide, with significant totals confined to the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. West of the Cascades, early week downpours resulted in local flooding and mudslides. Farther east, Midwestern precipitation was light but led to travel disruptions due to snow showers, blowing snow, high winds, and local ground-blizzard conditions. Periods of snow also spread across the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. In addition, snow squalls plagued areas downwind of the Great Lakes. At week’s end, shower developed across southern California, although precipitation did not reach the state’s key watershed areas. Consequently, the water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snowpack was only about 40 percent of the mid-January average. Elsewhere, precipitation was limited to the western Gulf Coast region and parts of the Southeast. The Southeastern precipitation mostly fell (and ended) on January 5, while the Gulf Coast rain (mixed with some freezing rain, sleet, and snow) developed at week’s end. Torrential rain on January 4 caused local flooding and mudslides in western Washington, where daily record precipitation totals included 4.99 inches in Quillayute and 4.58 inches in Hoquiam. January 1-10 rainfall topped 7 inches in both locations. Astoria, OR, also collected a daily record total for January 4, when 3.22 inches fell. Farther inland, heavy snow blanketed the northern Rockies and environs. Kalispell, MT, netted 19.2 inches of snow on January 4-5. Snow also spread across the northern Plains, where daily record totals for January 5 reached 6.7 inches in Glasgow, MT, and 5.0 inches in Sioux Falls, SD. At the same time, high winds swept across the northern Intermountain West. In Wyoming, wind gusts were clocked to 72 mph in Rawlins and 64 mph in Cheyenne. Meanwhile, precipitation lingered early in the week across the Atlantic Coast States, where daily record totals for January 4 included 1.29 inches in New Bern, NC, and 0.87 inch (including 5.2 inches of snow) in Caribou, ME. By January 8, blizzard conditions developed across portions of the northern Plains and Midwest. On that date, Muskegon, MI, received a daily-record snowfall of 8.0 inches and clocked a wind gust to 55 mph. During the first 10 days of January, Muskegon’s snowfall totaled 29.6 inches. Elsewhere in the north-central U.S., January 8 wind gusts reached 59 mph in Sioux City, IA, and Bismarck, ND. At week’s end, rain developed in the western Gulf Coast region, where Brownsville, TX (2.70 inches), reported its second-wettest January day.
11-17: including the Four Corners States and areas from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, received widespread rain, and snow. The Southwest’s precipitation fell early in the week, followed by a late week shift of storminess into the Northwest. Despite the light rain and snow, weekly temperatures averaged as much as 10F above normal in several locations across the Great Basin and the Intermountain West. Farther east, generally light precipitation fell along and east of a line from eastern Texas to the lower Great Lakes States. The bulk of the precipitation fell early in the week, and included heavy rain (2 inches or more) in the southern Mid-Atlantic coastal plain and wintry weather (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) from the Ohio Valley to the interior Northeast. Heavy precipitation accompanied the late-week warmth in the Northwest. For example, record-setting rainfall totals for January 17 in Oregon included 2.86 inches in Astoria and 1.80 inches in Portland. Similarly, precipitation records for January 17 were broken in Washington locations such as Vancouver (1.73 inches), Spokane (0.63 inch), and Yakima (0.52 inch). Earlier, significant precipitation had been confined to the southern tier of the U.S. The week opened with Southwestern showers, including daily-record amounts for January 11 in Bakersfield, CA (0.63 inch); Las Vegas, NV (0.46 inch); and Colorado Springs, CO (0.43 inch). Colorado Springs also received 6.5 inches of snow on January 11-12. In the Wasatch Range, January 12-13 snowfall totaled 2 feet in Alta, UT. During the same 2-day period, 6.4 inches of snow blanketed Flagstaff, AZ. Farther east, heavy rain on January 11 in southern and eastern Texas led to daily-record totals in Beaumont-Port Arthur (2.11 inches) and Victoria (1.51 inches). A day later, Southeastern rainfall records for January 12 reached 2.40 inches in Fayetteville, NC, and 1.89 inches in Savannah, GA. Heavy rain lasted into January 13 across Florida, where Fort Lauderdale collected a daily-record total of 1.97 inches. Farther north and inland, patches of wintry precipitation resulted in sporadic travel difficulties and daily records, including snowfall totaling 0.5 inch in Paducah, KY, on January 15.
18-14: Heavy rain (at least 1 to 3 inches) fell across the South from central and eastern Texas to the southern Atlantic Coast, excluding southern Florida. At week’s end, precipitation—including some sleet and snow—spread northward along the Atlantic Seaboard. Early in the week, a coastal storm produced some heavy rain (and freezing rain) in the Mid-Atlantic region. Record setting precipitation totals for January 18 reached 2.10 inches in New York’s Central Park; 1.84 inches in Newark, NJ; and 1.54 inches in Richmond, VA. Meanwhile, a surge of moisture across the Northwest led to a daily record snowfall (4.0 inches on January 18) in Kalispell, MT. By mid-week, snow overspread southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains. Record-setting snowfall amounts for January 21 reached 11.0 inches in Amarillo, TX, and 4.5 inches in Colorado Springs, CO. Amarillo’s 2-day (January 21-22) snowfall climbed to a foot. Rain erupted across central and eastern Texas on January 22, resulting in daily record totals in locations such as College Station (2.90 inches), Austin (2.44 inches), and Beaumont-Port Arthur (2.28 inches). A day later, record-setting totals for January 23 were broken at several Florida locations, including Apalachicola (3.14 inches) and Tallahassee (2.77 inches). By January 24, snow in the Mid-Atlantic States resulted in daily-record totals in Bridgeport, CT (5.5 inches), and Newark, NJ (5.1 inches). Early-week warmth stretched from the Pacific Coast to the central and southern Plains.
25-31: California’s key watershed areas remained dry for a sixth consecutive week, further intensifying concerns about drought lasting through a fourth year. Similar concerns existed in neighboring areas of the Great Basin, but highly beneficial precipitation developed in the Southwest. Late-week precipitation totals of 1 to 2 inches or more were common in central and southern Arizona. Farther east, beneficial precipitation also developed at week’s end across the central and southern Plains and parts of the Midwest. Rain began to change to snow from the central Plains into the Midwest, with significant accumulations reported on January 31 – February 1. Elsewhere, a major winter storm brought blizzard conditions to the northern Atlantic Coast on January 27-28, although inland sections of Northeast—as well as the Midwest— mostly escaped the storm with light precipitation. As the storm responsible for the precipitation rapidly intensified near the middle and northern Atlantic Coast, blizzard conditions developed from Long Island to coastal Maine. Islip, NY, received 24.9 inches of snow on January 26-27, second only to the 27.8- inch storm total of February 8-9, 2013. In Massachusetts, 3 feet of snow fell in Auburn and Lunenburg, while 34.5 inches (a single-storm record) blanketed Worcester and 24.6 inches (a single-storm January record) cloaked Boston. Peak wind gusts on January 27 were clocked to 55 mph in Worcester and 50 mph in Islip. Other peak gusts included 78 mph in Nantucket, MA, and 60 mph in Westhampton, NY. The storm met blizzard criteria—wind gusts to 35 mph or higher and visibility of one-quarter mile or less—for more than 9 hours in Worcester and Boston, and 11 hours in Nantucket. Elsewhere, selected January 26-27 snowfall totals included 23.8 inches in Portland, ME; 19.1 inches in Providence, RI; 13.0 inches in Concord, NH; 9.8 inches in New York City; 1.2 inches in Philadelphia, PA; and 0.6 inch in Washington, DC. Following the storm’s departure, some additional snow fell from the Great Lakes States into the Northeast. Alpena, MI, netted a daily-record snowfall (5.0 inches) on January 29. At week’s end, precipitation spread from the Southwest into the nation’s mid-section, setting the stage for more heavy snow (details next week)—this time in the southern Rockies and from Nebraska into the Northeast. Tucson, AZ, received 2.17 inches of rain during the last 3 days of the month, aided by a daily record total (1.39 inches) on January 30. Las Vegas, NV, also reported a daily-record amount (0.17 inch) on the 30th. As the month came to a close, heavy precipitation (rain, or rain changing to snow) spread across the central and southern Plains and the western Corn Belt. Record-setting totals for January 31 included 1.10 inches in St. Joseph, MO; 1.04 inches in Topeka, KS; 0.82 inch in Lincoln, NE; 0.75 inch in Des Moines, IA; and 0.55 inch in Lubbock, TX. Eventually, storm-total (January 31 – February 1) snowfall climbed to 11.6 inches in Des Moines and 7.9 inches in Lincoln. Topeka received a 0.6-inch snowfall on January 31 – February 1, days after noting a monthly record high of 78°F.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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