NOAA: Average temperature of the USA in January at freezing

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.

Significant U.S. Climate Events for January 2013

Significant climate events for January 2013.

Click image to enlarge, or click here for the National Overview.

Note: The January Monthly Climate Report for the United States has several pages of supplemental information and data regarding some of the weather/climate events from the month.

U.S. climate highlights: January

  • January 2013 Statewide Temperature Ranks Map

    January 2013 Statewide Precipitation Ranks Map

    January 2013 Statewide Temperature (top) and Precipitation (bottom) ranks

    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, where Georgia 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 and Utah 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.

U.S. climate highlights: Winter-to-Date (December 2012 — January 2013

  • The first two months of the winter season, December and January, were warmer than average for the contiguous United States and ranked as the 18th warmest such period on record. The two-month period had an average temperature 2.5°F above average. Much of the warmth occurred across the eastern half of the nation. The West Coast and Southwest were slightly cooler than average during the 2-month period.
    Winter to date 2013 Statewide Precipitation Ranks Map

    Winter-to-Date 2013 Statewide Temperature ranks

  • An active storm pattern in the eastern U.S. resulted in wetter-than-average conditions during the first two months of winter. Louisiana, Mississippi, Michigan, and Pennsylvania each had a top ten wet period. The nationally-averaged precipitation total for the two-month period was 5.10 inches, 0.65 inch above average.

U.S. climate highlights: Last 12 months (February 2012 — January 2013

  • The 12-month period, ending in January, was the warmest such period for the contiguous U.S., with every state being warmer than average. Sixteen states, across the central U.S. and Northeast, were record warm, and 27 additional states were top ten warm. The February-January nationally-averaged temperature of 55.0°F was 2.9°F above average and the ninth warmest of any 12-month period on record for the nation.
  • The nationally-averaged precipitation total of 26.95 inches for the February-January period was 2.19 inches below average. Much of the central U.S. was drier than average. , Colorado, and Missouri had a top ten dry 12-month period, while Colorado and Nebraska were record dry. Wetter-than-average conditions occurred in the Pacific Northwest and central Gulf Coast where Washington and Louisiana had a top ten wet period.


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February 14, 2013 1:52 pm

“Significant climate events[…].” Really? Climate events?

February 14, 2013 1:59 pm

How does this compare to your set of trusted weather stations Anthony?

Malcolm Miller
February 14, 2013 2:16 pm

Shows that the ‘average’ conditions have very little relationshiip to the weather we experience daily.

February 14, 2013 2:17 pm

Yeah. we had a very “loopy” jet in January. The “pineapple express” from the tropical Pacific was flying straight North and landing in Anchorage and they were getting warm rain there. The jet then looped South along the Rockies before turning North again over the Midwest. East coast would have been unusually warm and western mountain states cold.

February 14, 2013 2:26 pm

Thank you NOAA for the prompt information. Meanwhile back at WUWT, the Widget is now nearly seven weeks out of date.

Rhoda R
February 14, 2013 2:33 pm

I, for one, am enjoying the lower heating bills and knees that don’t ache. Let’s hear it for warm winters.

February 14, 2013 2:38 pm

Let us envision how a Warmist propagandist formulates headlines in view of inconvenient facts. First toss in the mix the temperatures for Hawaii. Then reformulate the headline so it reads:
Presto. Instant global warming.

February 14, 2013 2:39 pm

How does this compare to your set of trusted weather stations Anthony?
Well, according to Roy Spencer you have to do some corrections for elevation before comparing:
“One important thing I noticed in my visual survey of the 114 USCRN sites is the tendency for them to be placed at higher elevations compared to the nearby USHCN sites. This is a little unfortunate since temperature decreases with height by roughly 5 deg. C per km, which is 0.5 deg. C per 100 meters, an effect which cannot be ignored when comparing the USCRN and USHCN sites. Since I could not find a good source of elevation data for the USCRN sites, I used elevations from Google Earth.”
Then you have to be careful using CRN because two of the sites are actually Urban. They run a bit hotter.

February 14, 2013 2:41 pm

Rhoda R writes “I, for one, am enjoying the lower heating bills and knees that don’t ache. Let’s hear it for warm winters.”
Me 3 Rhoda. Warmer is better, an obvious truth that somehow escapes these lunatics.

Peter in Ohio
February 14, 2013 2:55 pm

crosspatch says:
February 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm
Yes. For a few days things warmed up nicely here in NE Ohio. It was great. But, as one expects with the WEATHER in January, it got cold again. I’m willing to bet February in the Midwest won’t be breaking any heat records.

Lawrie Ayres
February 14, 2013 3:33 pm

I was impressed by the fact that this January was the same as January 1958 which in turn was the 39th warmest on record. 39th ? That should put the fear into the President and speed up his action on combatting climate change. I mean 39th what a worry. Same as 58 and wasn’t that the year that sub surfaced at the ice free North Pole? Any connection ? CO2 maybe or maybe not.

February 14, 2013 3:52 pm

If one really wanted to worry, I think the drought in the middle of the nation is most worth worry. It has nothing to do with Global Warming, and does have to do with a “cycle” heading back into Dust Bowl territory.
On the other hand, “Don’t Worry; Be Happy.”

February 14, 2013 4:22 pm

My January gas bill agrees with your map, it was damned cold in Utah. Still have lots of snow on the ground

February 14, 2013 4:30 pm

Rhoda R:
Please share some of that warmth with those of us on the West coast. Annoyingly cold here lately . .

February 14, 2013 4:39 pm

I’m a little confused about the temperature drop with altitude. While I can see this happening above a perfectly flat plain, I recall that denser cold still air pools in dips and valleys (as much as 5 deg F?) making for higher temps in those areas at altitude. Is this corrected for?

John Bell
February 14, 2013 5:07 pm

I heard this somewhere and it stuck in my mind – that Jan 26th is the coldest day on average in the CONUS, and likewise July 26th is the hottest day on average. So i try to celebrate each day in some little way.

February 14, 2013 5:12 pm

Weather is something to be endured.
It used to a point of pride.
Now, it has become an excuse.

Theo Goodwin
February 14, 2013 6:48 pm

Isn’t the last map above, “Winter-to-Date 2013 Statewide Temperature ranks,” pretty much the same as a population density map? If it showed counties, the sameness would be more apparent. I am in western Virginia and it should be the same color as the surrounding states of WV, KY, and NC. In other words, aren’t the higher temperatures in the same places as the higher population densities?

February 14, 2013 9:49 pm

Theo Goodwin says:
February 14, 2013 at 6:48 pm
I think it is people voting with their feet as much as them generating excess heat when they move to where they want to live. Originally from NC Kansas, now happily retired in Phoenix Az.
How many of your close friends are planning to move to Yellowknife Ca.?

Ill Tempered Klavier
February 14, 2013 11:58 pm

I think you have a point. Not myself though, after escaping from the world’s largest looney bin(California), I’ve spent the rest of my life living within fifty miles of where I was born, but I have an uncle who retired to Arizona after he got out of the Air Force. I also know several other people who have moved there after retiring. Quite a few people who play at the same bridge clubs I do spend most of the winter there and my mom has been staying with me the last few winters because most of her neighbors have become snowbirds, which makes it pretty lonely out where her house is.
I know no one who’s come the other way. So people going south to get warm have to be adding a solid chunk to the population in places with “frost free” climates :)))

February 15, 2013 12:41 am

U.S. climate highlights: Winter-to-Date (December 2012 — January 2013
Ummmmmm. Let’s me fix that for ya.
U.S. weather highlights: Winter-to-Date (December 2012 — January 2013
There, fixed 12 or 13 months is not climate, it’s weather.

February 15, 2013 12:43 am

Ahhhhh! Blockquote had failed.

U.S. climate highlights: Winter-to-Date (December 2012 — January 2013

Ummmmmm. Let’s me fix that for ya.

U.S. weather highlights: Winter-to-Date (December 2012 — January 2013

There, fixed 12 or 13 months is not climate, it’s weather.

February 15, 2013 1:23 am

SO, if I read it right, the report says that in some places it was warmer than average, but in other places it was cloder. In some paces it was wetter than others, but in other places it was drier. So, fairly average weather, then.

Theo Goodwin
February 15, 2013 9:14 am

Richard Holle says:
February 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm
We are considering moving to the low desert in Arizona. I have a son who is genetically predisposed to suffer from mold. We hear that the low desert is a good place to escape mold and that it is good for the symptoms which resemble arthritis.

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