Many Iowans are glad to put January behind them as the month seemed to be full of extreme cold, snow and ice storms, power outages and high heating bills. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says the statewide average for snowfall actually wasn’t as bad as the perception many of us have of it.
Snowfall readings across northwest Iowa into central Iowa were slightly above normal for January, between 8 and 12 inches, while much of the rest of the state was just under the usual amounts. The Des Moines area got more than 41-inches of snow during December and January combined, which approached an all-time record. Hillaker says this past month got a bad rap.
The impression is that January was a very snowy month but he says the snow we did receive during the month was on top of all the snow we got in December with very little melting having taken place in between. Hillaker says there were several Iowa cities that matched the statewide high temperature of 45 during the month, the warmest it got during January. On the other extreme, two cities are singled out.
He says Spencer reported an actual air temperature of 37-degrees below zero, while Estherville reported a wind chill of 53-below zero. Both extremes were reported on the morning of January 2nd. Hillaker says the first half of the month ended up being about 16-degrees colder than normal statewide while much of the second half was about 10-degrees warmer than the norm.
It averaged out to a January about four-degrees below normal. As for February, Hillaker says the long-range forecasts are still conflicting as to how the new month will be — colder, hotter or just average.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster Citysd