Tuesday, February 15, 2011

January 2011 U.S. Temperature & Precipitation Anomalies

Temperature Highlights
•Across the contiguous United States, the average January temperature was 30.0°F (-1.1°C) which is 0.8°F (0.4°C) below the 1901-2000 average.January 2011 was the coolest January since 1994 when the average temperature was 28.3°F (-2.1°C), breaking a long string of warm or near-normal Januaries.
•Cooler-than-normal conditions dominated most areas east of the Rocky Mountains while the western coastal states of California, Oregon and Washington were above-normal in January.

Precipitation Highlights
•Despite several large winter storms across the contiguous United States, January was the ninth driest on record, much drier than normal. Average precipitation across the contiguous United States was 1.48 inches (38 mm), which is 0.74 inch (19 mm) below the 1901-2000 average.
•Precipitation for the month of January was record dry for New Mexico (0.55 inch [14 mm] below normal), while both Arizona and Nevada had their second driest January. Notably, Nevada's extreme dryness followed a record-wet December for the state. Other states whose precipitation averages were much below normal were: Virginia (5th driest), Oklahoma (8th), North Carolina (9th), and California (10th). Meanwhile, much above normal precipitation fell in North Dakota and Nebraska.
•The lack of precipitation across the Four Corners region tied with 2003 as the driest January on record for the Southwest climate region. Its January precipitation of 0.23 inch (6 mm) was nearly 0.7 inch (18 mm) below the 20th century average. The West climate region also had very low precipitation, resulting in its eighth-driest January.
•January extended a pattern of continued dryness and drought across a wide band of the southern United States. The three-month period (November-January) was the 3rd driest such period for North Carolina, 4th driest for South Carolina, 7th driest for Arkansas, and 9th driest for New Mexico. Average precipitation in Montana (8th wettest) and North Dakota (10th wettest) was much above normal.

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