Our warm January shows no signs of cooling

The month of January in Minnesota usually consists of mounds of snow, bitter cold, and putting on more clothes than you even knew you had just to keep from shivering. It can be brutal. But this year hasn’t been all that cold.  I realize that warmth, or lack thereof, is in the eye of the beholder. I’m not saying that it hasn’t been cold because who would call 10° warm? But what I am saying, is that by Minnesota standards, our January has been pretty mild… and that is likely to continue.

So far this month, we have seen just five subzero low days in the Twin Cities with an overall lowest temperature of -9°. This is roughly half of what we typically experience. And that -9° would be one of the warmest coldest temperatures of the winter season on record. We’ve also been above freezing on 8 calendar days… roughly twice what is typically experienced. So far we are nearly 5 degrees above average for the month, and with the forecast only getting warmer from here over the next few days, that amount is likely to continue rising.

While it’s been mild so far this month, to keep things in perspective, it’s not exactly ground breaking. The first 20 days of the month are coming in at 45th warmest. Which in our roughly 150-year record, is a lot closer to the average than it is to anything record breaking. But it’s the fact that our overnights have been REALLY warm and our afternoons have been fairly consistently getting above freezing that is a far cry different from what we have become accustomed to as the coldest time of year in Minnesota on average.

Temperatures when compared to average for the month of January... image courtesy of weathermodels.com

We aren’t the only ones having a mild January. In fact, many areas to the south and east of us have been much further above average. Most of the East Coast are closer to 10 degrees above average for the month where it is felt more like April than January. The east is expected to cool a bit over the next couple of days, but they will also begin to warm again for the end of the month.

Now, it’s a long winter season and there’s plenty to go, so we’re not done with the snow and cold just yet. If you remember just last year, January was quite mild and February saw record amounts of snow and bitter cold… so things can certainly take a turn.  But for now, it looks like it’s going to continue to be well above average and quite “comfortable” for this time of year.