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Mid January Review: Flooding Rain, Record Cold and Record Heat

Tuesday, January 15th 2013

Well, here we are already half-way through the month of January and I thought it would be nice to take a look at some of the weather headlines so far this 2013. One of the bigger stories as of late has been the heavy rain/flooding and severe weather from the Lower Mississippi to the Ohio Valley. Thanks to Lance Bullion for the picture below is from Baton Rouge, LA where 11 of the last 15 days have had rain. No surprise that we’ve had flooding here.

National Precipitation From Normal

The image below shows the precipitation from normal since January 1st. Note the colorful display from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley; this indicates above average precipitation for that time frame.

Baton Rouge Heavy Rain

With all the heavy rain as of late, would you have guessed that Baton Rouge is nearly 10.50″ above normal precipitation for the year so far? WOW!

Ridiculously Cold Out West

Another big story as of late has been the extreme cold across the western half of the country and especially in the Southwest. There have been reports of freezing temperatures and ice as far south as Arizona! Thanks to my good friend Rich Koivisto for the picture below out of Bullhead City, AZ. Rich says that ice and palm trees don’t go together… LOL!

Record Lows

According to over the past 7 days there have been 439 record minimum temperatures and low max temps tied or broken, mainly in the west.

Las Vegas, NV

One of these records was in Las Vegas, NV. On Monday January 14th, the high temperature was only 38° – this was the coldest high temperature on that date in that city! YIKES and BRR!

Why so Cold?

The reason why it has been so cold as of late is because of the deep trough extending into northern Mexico. This deep trough is modified Arctic air that has dropped temperatures nearly 15° to 30° below the norm out west.

Heating Degree Days

One way to measure energy consumption is to determine heating degree days and taking a look at the first half of the month, it is pretty apparent who is spending more vs. who is spending less. The graphic below shows the departure from normal in the heating degree days. Any POSITIVE number suggests that you are having to heat your home more and are spending more (than normal) on heating it. The opposite is true for those who have a NEGATIVE number, you’re spending less (than normal) to heat your home so far through the first 15 days of the month!

Spending More on Heating

I did a little calculation today and based on AVERAGES (i.e. If you keep your thermostat set at 65° & an average of $0.70/therm is spent for energy). Again these are just averages, but with that said, I’ve calculated how much additional (from normal) it has cost to heat your home.

Record Heat in the East

According to there have been 2,232 record high temps or maximum low temperatures since January 8th; most of those occurring in the eastern half of the country. As expected, this is also an area that has been spending less than normal to heat the home through the first half of the month.

Warm in Miami, FL

WOW! What a stretch for Miami, FL… you’ve seen 14 consecutive days with 80s for highs and that’s almost a record! If we see another 80°+ high tomorrow we’ll tie the record for the number of 80° highs in January!

Much Colder Next Week

After a slight and brief warm up for parts the nation. Another surge of Arctic air will be heading our way by next week. In fact, this will be even colder that what we’re seeing now for some locations of the Upper Mississippi Valley/Great Lakes Region! The image below suggests the next Nanook air mass by next Monday.

Minneapolis, MN Meteogram

The meteogram for the Minneapolis, MN area shows how cold (potentially) we could be by Sunday/Monday. We may even be close to breaking a nearly 4 year record of the last time we’ve seen a sub-zero daytime high. In fact, the last time we’ve seen a sub-zero daytime high was January 15th, 2009 @ -6°

Extended Outlook

The extended outlook for the end of January suggests that temperatures in the East will be cooler than normal and out west it’ll be warmer than average.

Thanks for checking in on this Tuesday, have a great rest of your week!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

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