Iowa’s weather during January featured several extremes. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says there were radical shifts in temperature, for starters, and despite the heavy snow that blanketed much of the state over the weekend, Iowa ended up lacking for precipitation during the month.
“Very cold, generally speaking, for the first half of January, very mild and rather dry for the second half other than the big storm that came into the state on the very last day of January,” Hillaker says. “If we look at the state as a whole, the month ended up being about 2.3 degrees warmer than normal.”
Most of Iowa got walloped by a monster winter storm over the weekend that dumped up to 14-inches of snow on some areas of the state. Still, February 1st was Sunday, so the statewide average for precipitation during January was only about half-an-inch, which is about half the norm for the month. “That basically does not include that event on the last day of the month,” Hillaker says. “For most of the official weather observers, their last report for the month would have come at 7 A.M. on January 31st, and all of that snow we had for the weekend came after that time, so it’ll end up in February’s records.”
He says Iowa’s high and low temperatures for January were over 40 degrees apart. “Cherokee had the lowest temperature of the month, down to minus 24 degrees,” Hillaker says. “Then, toward the tail end of the month, right before the big snow event, we did have an impressive –for January — high of 67 degrees down in Shenandoah on the 28th day of the month.”
February is starting off much colder than normal and, for most of the state, much snowier than usual, too. Temperatures will likely stay below freezing this week and he says there will only be a little melting of the mounds of snow.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)