State climatologist, Harry Hillaker, says the average snowfall continued to be below normal in the first month of the new year. Hillaker says January was, “Not as far below normal as November and December had been though, with statewide average of about 6.6 inches of snow, normally we would have about eight inches or so for the month, so it’s a little bit below normal.”
He says there’s always a big contrast in snowfall across the state. “Some parts of northeast Iowa were quite a bit above normal, Guttenberg for example had 17.5 inches of snow for the month, which would be about double the usual amount there. On the other side of the spectrum…Logan in western Iowa had only six-tenths of an inch of snow for the month,” Hillaker says.
One thing that is much different from recent years is the amount of time the snow has hung around. Hillaker says rain and warm conditions melted the snow we got so the ground didn’t remain white very long after the snowfall, like it has in recent years.
“Especially the winter two years ago, 2009 and 2010, where some places such as Des Moines just obliterated the old record as far as duration of snow cover. So it’s a huge contrast from what we’ve seen in recent winters,” Hillaker says. “But again, not historically at the top as far as a lack of snow, but certainly less than usual.”
Part of the melting of the snowcover was due to warmer temperatures. Hillaker says the temperatures averaged about six degrees above normal for the month. “Actually not high enough to get in the top ten as far as warmest Januarys, but we certainly did have some very mild days mixed in there,” Hillaker says.
“Temperatures were into the 60’s on several different dates during the month in parts of the state, which is certainly not an everyday occurrence by any means in Iowa.” Hillaker says the overall precipitation for January was 63-hundredths of an inch, which is about two-thirds the normal average for the month.