The blizzard that blew through the state this week nearly assured this will be the fifth winter in a row with above average snowfall in Iowa. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker has been crunching the numbers for January. Over last month, the state received an average of 10.5 inches of snow.

“That’s about 2.3 inches more than usual and ranks as (Iowa’s) 24th greatest January snowfall total,” Hillaker said. The first month of 2011 was also slightly colder than the average January in Iowa.

The lowest temperature recorded during the month was 30-below zero on January 21 in Elkader. The warmest temperature was a relatively cool 45, hit three times in cities of Shenandoah, Sidney and Glenwood.

Hillaker calls that “pretty usual” because Iowa’s only had three months, over 139 years of record keeping, where the high temperature failed to reach at least 45 degrees. The last time was one year ago, in February 2010, when the highest recorded temp was 42.

Hillaker says it’s a good bet this February will also be colder than normal. He says February is already guaranteed to be above normal for snowfall thanks to this week’s storm. Last winter was the sixth snowiest and 21st coldest winter ever recorded in Iowa.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City