By Pat Powers (Radio Iowa)
January is usually the coldest and driest month of the year, but State Climatologist, Justin Glisan says the numbers went against the averages this year.
“Little over 24 degrees is the average temperature for the state and that’s about five degrees above average so top 30 warmest Januarys on record,” he says. January also saw more rain and snow than normal.
“We’re about an inch above average — we came in at just under two inches of precipitation snowfall in any rainfall that fell — and preliminarily in the top 10 wettest Januarys on record,” according to Glisan. He says half the state saw more snowfall than normal.
“As January is the driest month it doesn’t take a lot to be above average, but definitely above average snowpack across the northern half of the state anywhere from five to 10 inches above average. You look at southern Iowa in a snow drought so below average snowfall for that portion of the state,” Glisan says.
The severe weather in January was not limited to snow and blizzards, as two tornadoes touched down in eastern Iowa.
“Very weak tornadoes, EF-0, E-F-1, on the ground for 10 minutes five mile track. Some damage along that path, but nothing catastrophic,” he says. The tornadoes were rare and record-breaking.
“The earliest calendar day tornado for the state of Iowa. So we broke a record there. And it was these were the first tornadoes that we’ve seen across the state since January 24 1967, when we saw 13 tornadoes in eastern Iowa, which was a part of a larger tornado outbreak across Missouri, Illinois and Iowa,” Glisan says.
Glisan says the early short-term outlook for February is slightly warmer and wetter.