Precipitation was 0.62” below normal with a notable 3.9” snowfall deficit.
2012 broke the string of three straight colder than average Januarys (from 2009-2011), and was more comparable to the mild Januarys of 2006-2008. 2012’s 40.8 average temperature in January at Reagan National was slightly warmer than 2007’s 40.7 and 2008’s 40.0, but considerably cooler than 2006’s 43.1.
None of these recent warm years compare to the warmest January on record: the torching 48.0 from January 1950. That was a full 12 degrees above normal - a stunning anomaly for a monthly average.
You can see how much warmer January 1950 was compared to this year in the daily average comparison chart above.
Yesterday’s high of 66 brought the monthly total of 60+ days to 6. In 1950, we had 14, including an incredible 6 days of 70 or higher.
2012 tied for 13th (with six other years) for most 60 degree days.
Here are the 60+ counts for other years (years since 2000 in bold):
1890, 1916, 1974, 2006: 9
1874, 1876, 1937, 1947: 7
1949, 1951, 1952, 1967, 1990, 2007, 2012: 6
In terms of records, Dulles hoarded them all, setting three for warm temperatures. On January 26 and 27, it tied the records for warmest low temperature (from 1967 and 1974), only dropping to 40 and 39. And on January 31, it set a new high temperature record of 66 (old record 65 from 1993).
A look ahead to February
As both Wes and Greg wrote recently, some signs of changes ahead could give us better opportunities for at least some cold and even more snow in the weeks ahead. Wes’ former employer, the National Weather Service is less enthused as they favor a warm month with little guidance on precipitation (equal chances of anything happening).
The National Weather Service publishes nice monthly assessments usually within a week of the close of each month (should be available shortly):
Historical Washington, DC data provided by Speedwell Weather and NOAA
(Jason Samenow and Ian Livingston contributed to this post)