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home : local news : local news May 24, 2016

2/10/2014 10:37:00 AM
January had 30 times more snow than a year ago
Shovelers in Palestine tried to keep up following one of the storms that dumped a total of 15.5 inches of snow on the county. (Daily News photo)
Shovelers in Palestine tried to keep up following one of the storms that dumped a total of 15.5 inches of snow on the county. (Daily News photo)
While Crawford County residents hunker down as another winter storm system blows through, they can at least take solace in the fact that it is still warmer - so far - than January.

Temperatures last month rarely ventured above the upper 30s, and more than 30 times the snow that fell here last January was reported, according to figures supplied by Official Weather Observer Ron Brock, Palestine.

The average daytime high in January was slightly more than 32.6 degrees, just barely above freezing and down from the January 2012 average high of 39.9 degrees.

The warmest temperature of the month was 54, reported on Jan. 13 and 26. It was down from the high of 65 on Jan. 30 last year.

The mercury failed to rise above freezing 13 days. Of those days, three posted highs in the teens and one - Jan. 6 - only warmed up to 7 below zero. The overnight low on that date was 11 below, the second coldest temperature of the month.

In 2012, most January highs were in the 30s, with four days with highs in the 20s and one - the 22nd - with a high of only 17. It also warmed up to 50s five times and the 60s three times.

The average overnight low in January was almost 12.7, down from 21.4 last year. The coldest temperature of the month was 12 below zero, reported on the 7th. Last year, the coldest temperature was 6, reported Jan. 2, 3 and 22.

Most lows were in the teens and 20s both this year and last. Temperatures dipped below freezing 29 times this year and 25 in 2012. Temperatures in the single digits or colder were reported on 11 nights.

Officially, the record January low remains at 19 below, set Jan. 28, 1963. The mercury dropped to negative numbers six times and it never rose above 59 during that month. The warmest temperature on record for the month is 75, reported Jan. 24, 1943.

Almost 15.5 inches of snow fell here in January. The heaviest snowfall dropped 8 inches on the county Jan. 5 as the Polar Vortex blasted across the country.

Also, more than 2.02 inches of rainfall was recorded. The heaviest rainfall amounted to .65 inch on the 10th.

Only .51 inch of snow was reported during the month last year, with a half-inch falling on New Year's Day. The other .01 inch fell on the 31st.

Rain was more common; 5.05 inches was recorded, including .48 inch of freezing rain Jan. 13. Much of the month's total precipitation fell during the days prior to that, with 2.52 inches falling Jan. 12 alone.

January was the eighth coldest January on record for Illinois.

The statewide average temperature was 18.2 degrees, 8.1 degrees below the 1981-2010 average of 26.3 degrees, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel at the Illinois State Water Survey.

The coldest January on record was in 1977, with an average temperature of 10.3 degrees.

After being largely absent for the past two winters, below-zero temperatures were common in January, Angel said. For example, in Chicago the low temperature was zero or below on 13 days at O'Hare Airport. The low temperature was below freezing every day of the month at Chicago.

Snowfall for January was above average for most of the state, except in far southern Illinois. Amounts ranged from 1 to 6 inches in far southern Illinois to 25 to 30 inches in northeast Illinois, getting a boost from lake-effect snow. The rest of the state saw snowfall totals in the 10 to 20 inch range.

Chicago reported 33.5 inches of snow through the end of the month, the third snowiest January on record.

The combination of the water content of the snow and a few rain events resulted in a state-wide precipitation total of 1.76 inches, which is just slightly below the long-term average of 2.12 inches. However, some areas of the state were well below average in January, especially south of Interstate-70 where winter precipitation is typically heavier than this year.

January's wintry weather has had an impact on state farming. Freezing temperatures have left the dormant winter wheat crop rated in mostly fair to good condition. Winter wheat conditions stand at 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 40 percent fair, 53 percent good and 3 percent excellent.

Snowfall was below average in January 2012, but the statewide precipitation - which includes both rain and melted snow - was 3.9 inches, nearly 2 inches above average, Angel said.

Precipitation for most of the state was in the 3- to 6-inch range except for some drier areas in central and western Illinois, Angel explained. It was wettest in southeastern Illinois with several sites receiving over 6 inches of precipitation,

Snowfall for the month was below average and ranged from 6.5 inches in the northwest corner to zero in far southern Illinois.

The statewide temperature for January 2012 was 28.7 degrees, four degrees above average. It was far short of the warmest January on record that was established in 2006 with 37.9 degrees, followed closely by 1933 with 37.7 degrees.

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