For those who shivered through January, this may be hard to believe: Nationwide, the average temperature for the month was about normal because a warm West offset a cool East. January in the Lower 48 states was the 53rd coldest of 120 years of record-keeping, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.
The average was 30.3 degrees, only one-tenth of a degree below normal for the month.
While Alabama had its fourth-coldest January on record, California and Alaska had their third warmest. Nationwide, it was the fifth-driest January on record. New Mexico had its driest January.
And even though it seemed like it snowed a lot in the East, the snow on the ground in January in the Lower 48 was the 16th smallest in 48 years of record-keeping by the Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.
Snow cover was above average in the Northern Plains, Midwest and Northeast but below average in the Rockies and the West. Nearly every state, from Missouri and Iowa to the East, had a much cooler than normal start of the year. Nearly every state from Colorado and Wyoming west had a much warmer than normal January.
Here’s some good news: The National Weather Service predicts that the jet stream is becoming unstuck from its unusual southward plunge. That means that the next couple of weeks will bring warmer than normal temperatures for the East and Midwest.