- For January, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 31.0°F, 0.9°F above the 20th-century average, ranking in the middle third of the 128-year record and was the coolest January since 2014.
- Temperatures were above average across much of the West and parts of the northern Plains. California had its ninth-warmest January on record. Temperatures were below average from the Midwest and Tennessee Valley to the Northeast and were associated with a persistent trough of low pressure across the region.
- Arctic air plunged deep into Florida late in the month, bringing some of the coldest temperatures seen in the last decade. Despite below-freezing temperatures, citrus, strawberry and tomato crops suffered no significant damage.
- The Alaska average January temperature was 3.9°F, 1.7°F above the long-term mean, ranking in the middle third of the 98-year record. Temperatures across the state were mostly near normal during January with above-average temperatures observed across portions of Cook Inlet and the Southeast Interior regions.
- Near-normal January temperatures contributed to a monthly average Bering Sea Ice extent that was double the record-low value set in 2018 and the highest value since 2013.
- The nationally averaged maximum temperature (daytime highs) was warmer than average during January at 42.6°F, 2.1°F above average, ranking in the warmest third of the 128-year record. Temperatures were mostly above average from the Great Plains to the West Coast and below average from the Great Lakes to the East Coast.
- The nationally averaged minimum temperature (overnight lows) during January was 19.3°F, 0.4°F below average and ranked in the middle third of the 128-year record. Temperatures were above average across portions of the West while below-average overnight temperatures were present from the Deep South to the Great Lakes and across the Northeast.
- Warm records in January outpaced cold records by a two-to-one margin. As of February 8, there were 2,978 warm daily high (1,477) and low (1,501) temperature records tied or broken during January. There were approximately 1,521 daily cold high (686) and low (835) temperature records set during the month.
- Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during January was 106 percent of average and ranked in the middle third of the 128-year record.
- The January precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 1.60 inches, 0.71 inch below average, and tied with 2009 for the 14th driest in the 128-year period of record. This was the driest January since 2014.
- Precipitation was above average across portions of the Colorado High Plains, northern Plains, Tennessee Valley and Mid-Atlantic. Precipitation was below average across most of the Lower 48. Regions with below-average precipitation included much of the West, High Plains, Deep South, Great Lakes and Northeast. Nevada and California each had their second-driest January, and Utah experienced its third driest January on record.
- Several significant winter-weather events occurred throughout the month.
- A January 4 event brought a blanket of snow from Arkansas to Delaware and stranded motorists for as long as 24 hours on I-95 in Virginia.
- A snow event from January 13-18, and more specifically on January 16-17, brought significant snowfall from the southern Appalachians to Maine with portions of New York state reporting 18-24 inches of snow. This event was classified as a Category 2 storm, considered "Significant", across the Southeast Region, per the Regional Snowfall Index (RSI), and a Category 1, "Notable", storm for both the Ohio Valley and Northeast regions.
- A coastal Carolinas ice storm occurred on January 20-21 with ice accumulations near Charleston leading to hazardous travel conditions and power outages.
- Near-record snowfall was reported across portions of Colorado and Kansas on January 25. Up to 27 inches of snow was reported at Mt. Sunflower, Kansas — just 3 inches shy of the state 24-hour record.
- A type of nor'easter known as a bomb cyclone, or a rapidly intensifying low pressure system, developed over the Atlantic Ocean along the East Coast on January 28-30 and brought 1 to 2 feet of snow and blizzard conditions along the coastline from Delaware to Maine. This event was classified as a Category 1 snowstorm on the RSI scale.
- Boston tied its greatest 1-day snowfall total — 23.6 inches.
- This low pressure system intensified at nearly double the rate of a classic bomb cyclone, dropping 35 millibars in an 18-hour period.
- At least 100,000 people were without power during this storm.
- Alaska ranked in the wettest third of the historical record for January. The North Slope, Southeast Interior, Northeast Gulf and Panhandle regions were wetter than average while the Aleutians received below-average precipitation during January. Juneau reported its wettest January on record.
- According to the February 1 U.S. Drought Monitor report, approximately 55.2 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, which is up about 0.4 percent from the beginning of January. Drought conditions expanded and/or intensified across portions of the Great Plains and lower Mississippi Valley. Drought severity lessened across portions of the West and the Carolinas. Moderate drought conditions returned to Hawaii in January with more than 81 percent coverage across the islands, while drought expanded nearly 11 percent across Puerto Rico during January.
These regional summaries were provided by the six Regional Climate Centers and reflect conditions in their respective regions. These six regions differ spatially from the nine climatic regions of the National Centers for Environmental Information.
Northeast Region (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
- The Northeast’s average temperature of 20.6 degrees F (-6.3 degrees C) was 3.5 degrees F (1.9 degrees C) colder than normal. January average temperatures for the 12 Northeast states ranged from 4.7 degrees F (2.6 degrees C) colder than normal in New York to 1.2 degrees F (0.7 degrees C) colder than normal in Rhode Island.
- January precipitation in the Northeast was 2.46 inches (62.48 mm), 75 percent of normal. Nine of the 12 Northeast states were drier than normal, with precipitation for all states ranging from 44 percent of normal in Vermont to 127 percent of normal in West Virginia. This January ranked among the 20 driest Januaries since 1895 for three states: Vermont, ninth driest; Maine, 14th driest; and New Hampshire, 16th driest.
- The U.S. Drought Monitor from January 4 showed 1 percent of the Northeast in severe drought, 1 percent in moderate drought, and 13 percent as abnormally dry. Enough precipitation fell during the month to alleviate dryness in West Virginia and portions of Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Drought and abnormal dryness persisted in far northern New England, which generally saw below- or near-normal precipitation and snowfall during January. The U.S. Drought Monitor from January 25 showed 1 percent of the Northeast in severe drought, 1 percent in moderate drought, and 9 percent as abnormally dry.
- Multiple storms affected the Northeast during January. On January 3, a storm spread snow on parts of the Mid-Atlantic, with the greatest snow totals of 12 to 16 inches (30 to 41 cm) from southern Maryland to southern New Jersey. In fact, Atlantic City, New Jersey, picked up 13.0 inches (33.0 cm) of snow, making it the site’s third snowiest January day on record and seventh all-time snowiest day. Travel was significantly disrupted in some locations due to hundreds of crashes/disabled vehicles and delayed/cancelled flights. Other impacts from the storm included power outages and school and business closures. In addition, higher-than-normal tides combined with the storm’s strong winds led to coastal flooding, closing roads. Another storm dropped more snow on southern and coastal parts of the Northeast just a few days later, from January 6 to 7. The greatest snow totals of 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) in parts of West Virginia, southern New England, and coastal Maine. Charlestown, West Virginia, saw 10.5 inches (26.7 cm) of snow, its largest two-day snow total since January 2016. A Blizzard Warning was issued in Maine for the first time in nearly four years. Conditions led to difficult travel and school closures. At the same time, areas east of Lakes Erie and Ontario experienced a lake-effect snow event. The greatest snow totals approached 20 inches (51 cm), with Buffalo, New York, having its second snowiest January day with 17.8 inches (45.2 cm) on January 6. A major winter storm dropped snow on much of the Northeast on January 16 and 17, with the greatest storm snow totals of 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm) in western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. Buffalo, New York, picked up 4.6 inches (11.7 cm) of snow in a single hour and wrapped up January 17 with 17.6 inches (44.7 cm) of snow, ranking as the site’s third snowiest January day since 1884. Buffalo had just recorded its second snowiest January day earlier in the month. Meanwhile, Erie, Pennsylvania, accumulated 13.6 inches (34.5 cm) of snow, making January 17 the site’s second snowiest January day. Some southern and coastal locations also saw light ice accumulations and rain. The storm also produced strong winds, with gusts of 30 to 50 mph (13 to 22 m/s) in interior locations and gusts of up to 70 mph (31 m/s) in coastal locations. The gusts brought down trees and wires, leaving tens of thousands of customers without power in the region. Coastal flooding was reported along the New England coastline, resulting in some road closures. A nor’easter rapidly strengthened off the East Coast on January 29, dropping heavy snow and producing strong winds along coastal areas from Maryland to Maine. Storm snowfall totals exceeded 12 inches (30 cm) in these areas, with the greatest amounts of 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm) in parts of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York’s Long Island. January 29 tied as the all-time snowiest day on record for Boston, Massachusetts, which picked up 23.6 inches (59.9 cm) of snow, and set the record for all-time snowiest day at Providence, Rhode Island, which accumulated 18.8 inches (47.8 cm) of snow. Meanwhile, Islip, New York, had its second all-time snowiest day and Atlantic City, New Jersey, had its sixth all-time snowiest day. January 29 snowfall also ranked among the ten greatest one-day snowfalls for January at several other climate sites. The storm pushed monthly snowfall totals to record territory at Atlantic City. The site accumulated 33.2 inches (84.3 cm) during the month, making it the snowiest January on record and the third all-time snowiest month. Several other major climate sites saw one of their five snowiest Januaries, which also ranked among the 10 snowiest all-time months for a few of the sites. The storm’s wind gusts generally ranged from 25 to 50 mph (11 to 22 m/s) in coastal locations, with gusts of 65 to 80 mph (29 to 36 m/s) in Downeast Maine, Cape Cod, and Long Island. Blizzard conditions occurred in coastal areas from Delaware to Maine, including locations such as Atlantic City; Providence; Boston; and Portland, Maine. Marshfield, Massachusetts, experienced blizzard conditions for 12 hours. More than 100,000 customers in Massachusetts lost power during the storm. In addition, several areas, particularly Cape Cod, experienced coastal flooding.
- For more information, please visit the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
Midwest Region (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
- The Midwest started the new year with widespread colder-than-normal temperatures across the region. Average temperature for the Midwest was 17.2 degrees F (8.2 degrees C), which was 5.2 degrees F (2.9 degrees C) below the 1991-2020 normal. All nine states had below normal average temperatures ranging from 3.4 degrees F (1.9 degrees C) below normal for Missouri to 7.5 degrees F (4.2 degrees C) below normal in Minnesota. Minimum temperatures ranged from 3-10 degrees F (2-6 degrees C) below normal across most of the Midwest, with minimum temperatures more than 10 degrees F (6 degrees C) below normal in the upper Midwest. There were 121 record daily low minimum temperatures during January, with most being recorded in the last 10 days of the month. Maximum temperatures were 1-4 degrees F (1-2 degrees C) below normal for most of the region except in Missouri and western Iowa where maximum temperatures were near or slightly above normal.
- January was drier-than-normal for the Midwest. Average Midwest precipitation was 1.59 inches (40 mm), which was 0.35 inches (9 mm) below the 1991-2020 normal, or 82 percent of normal. Geographically, precipitation amounts varied throughout the region. Kentucky was the wettest state with 5.72 inches (145 mm) of precipitation, or about 153 percent of normal. Four stations in Kentucky set a maximum monthly precipitation monthly record, including one station with 8.74 inches (222 mm) of precipitation. Wisconsin was the driest state with 0.53 inches (13 mm), or about 44 percent of normal. Across the region, eleven stations set a record for minimum January precipitation (five in Michigan, two each in Wisconsin and Illinois, and one each in Minnesota and Ohio). Despite the overall dryness, there were 189 daily high precipitation records set in January, with nearly all records having occurred in the first 17 days of the month.
- Snowfall varied widely across the region. On the low side, snow totals ranged from 0.01-5 inches (0.03-12.7 cm) across Missouri, southern Illinois, Indiana, and western Ohio, with widespread areas accumulating less than 25 percent of normal for January. Most of Michigan and Wisconsin saw snowfall ranging from 50-75 percent of normal. On the high side, Kentucky and eastern Ohio measured 5-30 inches (12.7-76.2 cm) of snow, with large areas exceeding 200 percent of normal. Above normal snowfall was also seen in southern Minnesota and Iowa where accumulations totaled about 10-15 inches (25.4-38.1 cm). There were 245 daily high snowfall records set across the region during January.
- Drought conditions remained steady in January, with essentially no change in the severity or spatial extent of drought or abnormal dryness during the month. About 15 percent of the region was in moderate (D1) or severe (D2) drought, and all drought conditions were confined to the northwest portion of the region. Minnesota and Wisconsin had the most widespread drought conditions, with small patches of drought present in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.
- Severe storms affected Kentucky on New Year’s Day, resulting in 10 tornado reports and 23 severe wind reports. The National Weather Service confirmed 8 tornadoes in Kentucky (3 EF-0 and 5 EF-1). The largest tornado, which occurred north of Campbellsville, was 350 yards (320 m) wide with a path length of 6.5 miles (10.5 km). Straight line wind damage was reported along a 0.1 mile (0.2 km) by 75-yard (68.6 m) stretch in Thurlow, Kentucky. Winds were estimated at 70 mph with damage to two homes, barns, and trees. Fortunately, no tornado- or wind-related deaths or injuries were reported.
- For further details on the weather and climate events in the Midwest, see the weekly and monthly reports at the Midwest Climate Watch page.
Southeast Region (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
- Temperatures were near to below average across much of the Southeast region for the month of January. Monthly mean temperatures were within 2 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) of average for over 59 percent of the 209 long-term (i.e., period of record equaling or exceeding 50 years) stations across the region. Consequently, there were no long-term stations that observed their warmest or coldest January on record. However, Covington, VA (1966-2022; at 3.4 degrees F (1.9 degrees C) below normal) observed its fifth coldest January on record. Maximum temperatures ranged from 2.6 degrees F (1.4 degrees C) above normal in Aibonito, PR (1955-2022) to 4.5 degrees F (2.5 degrees C) below normal in Concord, NC (1936-2022). Daily temperature minimums ranged from 1.4 degrees F (0.8 degree C) above normal in Orlando, FL (1896-2022) to 5.2 degrees F (2.9 degrees C) below normal in Harrisonburg, VA (1894-2022). The first two days of the year were exceptionally warm, with much of the region recording mean temperatures more than 20 degrees F (11.1 degrees C) above normal. Daily maximum temperatures exceeded 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) across portions of every state. There were 88 long-term stations that observed a daily maximum temperature record on the 1st, including Norfolk, VA (1871-2022) at 76 degrees F (24 degrees C) and Macon, GA (1892-2022) at 82 degrees F (28 degrees C). Montgomery, AL (1872-2022), reported the highest daily maximum temperature in the region (excluding Florida and Puerto Rico) for the event at 83 degrees F (28 degrees C), which tied for its warmest January day on record. In contrast, the coldest weather of the month across the Southeast occurred on the 29th through the 30th, as the circulation around a departing mid-latitude cyclone ushered in frigid air from Canada. Daily minimum temperatures fell below 20 degrees F (-6.7 degrees C) across portions of every state including Florida. Parts of southern Florida, including Miami, experienced frost conditions. Some locations in the higher elevations of North Carolina and Virginia fell below 0 degrees F (-17.8 degrees C), including Mt Mitchell (1925-2022) with a minimum temperature of -2 degrees F (-18.9 degrees C).
- Precipitation was variable across much the Southeast region for January, with a few wet and dry extremes reported. The driest locations were found across much of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Puerto Rico. Monthly precipitation totals ranged from 70 to less than 25 percent of normal across these locations. Sarasota, FL (1918-2022) only observed 0.44 inches (11 mm) of precipitation, more than 2.3 inches (58 mm) below normal, and Juncos, PR (1940-2022) observed its 8th driest January at only 1.2 inches (30 mm) of precipitation. In contrast, the wettest locations for the month were located across eastern North Carolina and Virginia. Precipitation totals ranged from 100 to 200 percent of normal. Cape Hatteras, NC (1874-2022) measured 7.1 inches (180 mm) of precipitation for the month, over 2 inches (51 mm) above normal, and Wallops Island, VA (1966-2022) observed its 6th wettest January at 5.24 inches (133 mm) of precipitation. A few low-pressure systems brought snowfall to the Southeast region throughout the month. After record warmth on the 1st and 2nd, a strong low-pressure system and accompanied cold front brought snow as far south as the Florida Panhandle. As the system moved northeastward, snowfall rates of 1-2 inches (25-51 mm) per hour were observed in parts of Virginia, leading to nearly 450,000 residents to lose power. The heavy wet snow was also responsible for a closure of a portion of I-95 in Caroline County, VA that lasted over 24 hours. Another low-pressure system moved northeastward through the region on January 16th -17th. This storm brought over 10 inches (254 mm) of snow to Germany Valley, GA and caused approximately 100,000 customers to lose power. Parts of U.S. Route 276 in North Carolina had to close due to icing. The North Carolina Highway Patrol responded to approximately 200 collisions across the state, including a car crash with two fatalities in Raleigh, NC. A low-pressure system that developed along the coast of South Carolina, brought 3 inches (76 mm) of snow to Chesterfield, SC, 5 inches (127 mm) of snow to Elizabeth City, NC, and 6.7 inches (170 mm) of snow to Norfolk, VA, January 21st-22nd. Ice storm warnings were issued for the coastal cities of Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC. This was the first ice storm warning the Weather Service office in Wilmington has issued since 2015. Ice accumulations of a quarter inch were reported, along with many downed trees and over a thousand power outages. On January 28th, an area of low pressure developed off the Southeast coast near Florida. This system strengthened rapidly as it moved north, producing wintery precipitation across the Southeast. Over 9 inches (229 mm) of snow fell in Wallops Island, VA and 10 inches (254 mm) in Mt. Mitchell, NC. As a result of these systems, a few places in the Southeast observed or tied their top ten counts of snow days for January, including Danville, VA at 8 days (tied for 3rd), Columbia, SC at 5 days (tied for 5th) and Raleigh, NC at 8 days (tied for 10th). The most snowfall for the month was observed in Beech Mountain, NC at 49.5 inches (1257 mm) of snow, which is its 5th highest January total since 1991.
- There were 113 reports of severe weather across the Southeast during January, which is 198 percent of the median monthly frequency of 57 reports during 2000-2019. There were 17 confirmed tornadoes reported for the month (12 EF-0, 4 EF-1 and 1 EF-2), which is 243 percent of the monthly average of seven. The strongest tornado occurred in Lee County, FL on January 16th and was rated EF-2, with winds of 118 mph (53 m/s). This tornado began as a waterspout in the Gulf of Mexico and moved onshore through the Fort Myers area. The tornado caused 3 injuries and damaged over 100 manufactured homes, with 30 being destroyed. Another tornado, associated with a squall line, occurred in Butler County, AL on January 9th. This tornado had winds of 75 mph (34 m/s) and snapped several trees. No injuries or fatalities were reported. There were 3 reports of hail for the month, with the largest being hen-egg sized (2.00 inches) in St. Lucie County, FL on January 10th. Several cars were banged up and damaged from the hail, but no injuries were reported. There were 91 wind reports for the month, which is 190 percent of the average (48 reports). Straight line winds up to 100 mph (45 m/s) were observed in Butler County, AL on January 9th, with significant tree damage. No injuries were reported.
- Overall drought conditions improved across the Southeast region except Puerto Rico in January. At the beginning of the month, a swath of severe drought (D2) stretched from northeastern North Carolina southwestward down to South Carolina, with a pocket of severe drought (D2) near the North Carolina/Virginia border. Moderate drought (D1) and abnormally dry conditions (D0) ringed the area of severe drought. By the end of the month, the severe drought (D2) was gone from the region. An area of abnormally dry conditions (D0) with pockets of moderate drought (D1) remained in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the western part of Alabama. Drought expanded across Puerto Rico for the month, with much of the island in moderate drought (D1) ringed by abnormally dry conditions (D0) and pockets of severe drought (D2) and extreme drought (D3) across the Virgin Islands. Farmers in the citrus growing region of Florida had to run irrigation due to dry conditions. Frost and freezing temperatures experienced toward the end of the month impacted row crop production throughout the state. Damage assessments are still underway, but producers are optimistic that sugarcane will recover from cold injury given some time. The cool nights and warm day temperature swings in Georgia caused some respiratory issues in cattle. Some farmers in Alabama reported damage to strawberry crops due to freezing temperatures. Diminishing forages and snowfall in South Carolina caused some farmers to begin feeding hay. Although cold temperatures were reported throughout January, strawberries remained in good condition.
- For more information, please visit the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
High Plains Region (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center)
- Temperatures for the region varied throughout the month, with 2022 starting cold then transitioning to warmer than normal in the middle of the month. As a result of the fluctuating temperatures, departures in the region remained near normal. Wyoming as well portions of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Colorado observed temperatures up to 4 degrees F (7 degrees C) above normal while the remainder of the region observed temperatures up to 4 degrees F (7 degrees C) below normal. A small area in the Rockies did observe temperatures up to 8 degrees F (14 degrees C) below normal. Despite lower than average snowfall in parts of Colorado, these cooler temperatures allowed ski resorts to maintain their base snow depths.
- With temperatures near normal, no locations in our region ranked in the top 10 coldest or warmest January on record, however, some areas did see new daily records set throughout the month. With a cold start to the month, Grand Forks, North Dakota set a new record low for New Year’s Day with a temperature of –37 degrees F (previous record of –35 degrees F in 1885). As the middle of the month transitioned to unseasonably warm, Hastings, Nebraska set a new daily high of 66 degrees F (19 degrees C) on the 18th, surpassing the previous record of 65 degrees F (18 degrees C) set in 1951. Sioux Falls, South Dakota also tied their record high on the 18th with a temperature of 52 degrees F (11 degrees C) (tie with 1944+).
- The majority of the High Plains was dry for the month of January. Large portions of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota observed well below normal precipitation. Several snowstorms across southeastern Wyoming, northwestern Kansas, western Nebraska, and eastern Colorado led to above normal precipitation for the area.
- Two locations ranked among the driest for January, while several snowstorms led to locations ranking among the snowiest and wettest (see page 6 for December monthly rankings). Dryness was most prevalent across eastern Nebraska, where Norfolk experienced the driest January on record with 0.04 inches (1 mm) of precipitation. In western Colorado, Grand Junction observed the 10th driest month on record, with only 0.14 inches (3.56 mm) of precipitation. Contrary to this, multiple snowstorms led to the 9th wettest January on record for Casper, Wyoming, with 0.90 inches (22.86 mm) of precipitation.
- The snowstorm on the 25th of the month helped several locations break snowfall records. In Sharon Springs, Kansas, 21 inches (53.34 cm) of snow fell, surpassing the one-day snowfall record for the station. The large snow amounts helped the station record its snowiest January, with 31 inches (78.74 cm) of snow. This easily passed the previous record of 15.2 inches (38.61 mm), set in 2001. Nearby Dodge City observed their 7th snowiest January on record, with 11.7 inches (29.72 cm) of snow falling. In eastern Colorado, Burlington recorded its snowiest January on record after receiving 19 inches (48.26 mm) during this same storm. Cheyenne, Wyoming also observed their 8th snowiest January on record, with 14.3 inches (36.32 mm) of snow falling during the month.
- Cold Start to the New Year
- 2022 began on a very cold note for the High Plains. A brutal cold front pushed through the region on the first few days of the month, with many stations recording their coldest day during the period. Temperatures plummeted below zero throughout the region, with North Dakota observing the bitterest of temperatures. Grand Forks observed a temperature of -37 degrees F (-38 degrees C) on the first, while many other stations in North Dakota experienced temperatures of -30 degrees F (-34 degrees C) or below. These frigid temperatures would linger throughout the month, with some stations having average temperatures below zero for the month.
- In contrast to these cold temperatures, the middle of the month was unseasonably warm in the southern High Plains. Multiple states observed daily temperature records broken, with departures of up to 30 degrees F (17 degrees C) above normal for this time of the year. The highest temperature recorded during this period was in southwest Kansas at Montezuma. Temperatures reached 73 degrees F (23 degrees C) on the 19th, which broke the daily temperature record. Castle Rock, Colorado observed a high temperature of 72 degrees F (22 degrees C) on the 8th and broke the record for warmest day in January on record for the station. The daily average temperature on the 8th was 54 degrees (12.2 degrees C), which surpassed the previous record of 53.5 degrees F (11.9 degrees C).
- Late in the month, a heavy snowstorm impacted eastern Colorado and western Kansas. A narrow swath of significant snowfall occurred on the 25th, with areas receiving 15 to 17 inches (38 cm to 43 cm). An isolated pocket along the Colorado and Kansas border received 20 or more inches (51 cm) of snow. The highest amounts were recorded near Mount Sunflower in Kansas, where 27 inches (69 cm) fell in 24 hours.
- For more information, please visit the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.
Southern Region (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
January was on the cool and dry side across most of the Southern Region.
January 2022 was the first month of winter in the Southern Region. Normally, December is the first month of winter, but this past December featured record-setting warmth. In contrast, January 2022 was somewhat cooler than the long-term median, ranking 57th coolest with a region-average temperature of 43.0 F (6.1 C). Mildest compared to historical conditions was Mississippi at 44.5 F (6.9 C), ranked 59th coolest, while its neighbor to the north, Tennessee, ranked 36th coolest at 36.0 F (2.2 C). The coldest temperature was recorded on January 30 at Mt Leconte, Tennessee, at -6 F (-21 C), while the warmest temperature was recorded by a RAWS site at Falcon Lake, Texas, on January 1, with a reading of 99 F (37 C). Eighteen stations along a swath extending from deep South Texas to eastern Tennessee recorded all-time record high temperatures for January during the very beginning of the month, before winter began. Sewanee, Tennessee, reached 73 F (23 C) on January 2, which is 2 F (1 C) warmer than any previous January in 126 years of records, while Athens, Tennessee, broke its previous record by 3 F (2 C). Meanwhile, by the end of the month, almost the entire region, with the exception of parts of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the Texas coast, had experienced below-freezing temperatures.
Tennessee was wet (5.82", or 148 mm, ranked 34th wettest) and Arkansas was close to normal (3.40", or 86 mm, ranked 58th wettest), but the remainder of the region was on the dry side. Texas led the way with 0.51" (13 mm) of precipitation, ranking 14th driest, Oklahoma only had 0.61" (15 mm) of precipitation, ranking 23rd driest, and Louisiana, despite receiving 2.45" (62 mm) of precipitation, ranked 15th driest. The wettest locations were Benton, Tennessee, with 12.11" (308 mm) and Cushman, Arkansas, with 10.82" (275 mm). At the dry end, 31 stations in Texas and Oklahoma reported zero precipitation and another 22 reported just a trace. All six states reported snow accumulations. The largest monthly totals by state were 39.7" (100.8 cm) at Mt. Leconte, Tennessee (the highest lowland total was 20.1" (51.1 cm) at Allardt); 13.3" (33.8 cm) at Harrison, Arkansas; 5.6" (14.2 cm) at Texline, Texas; 5.0" (12.7 cm) at Mangum, Oklahoma; 4.2" (10.7 cm) at Philadephia, Mississippi; and 0.1" (0.3 cm) at Monroe, Plain Dealing, and Shreveport, Louisiana. The largest single-day snowfalls were 12" (25.4 cm) at Harrison on January 15 and Mt Leconte on January 17.
Drought conditions generally worsened across the Southern Region. Two-category degradations in the US Drought Monitor were noted in central and south-central Texas, southern Arkansas, and parts of Louisiana and Mississippi near Baton Rouge. In contrast, conditions improved from southeast Texas to central Mississippi and across central Arkansas and western Tennessee. The percentage of the region in drought grew from 54% on December 28 to 70% on February 1, severe drought grew from 30% to 52%, extreme drought grew from 8% to 24%, and exceptional drought emerged in the Oklahoma Panhandle. All states except Tennessee had some extreme drought conditions; in Oklahoma, about half the state was in extreme drought. Primary impacts continue to be with winter wheat, grazing, and wildfire danger, but spring planting will be at risk if the dry weather continues into spring.
- Notable Weather Events
The most notable event was the severe weather on January 8-9 in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi discussed in the severe weather section. Three EF1 tornadoes and one EF0 tornado struck the Houston metropolitan area, fortunately without causing any deaths or serious injuries.
- Severe Weather
- For more information, please visit the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
Three episodes of severe weather affected the Southern Region in January. The cold front that effectively started winter on January 1 and 2 was associated with an EF1 tornado that touched down in Alabama and tracked for about ten miles in southern Tennessee, producing primarily tree damage. Sixteen high wind reports were received from Tennessee and one from Oklahoma. On January 8 and 9, eight tornadoes touched down in southeast Texas and Louisiana, including four within the Houston metropolitan area. The most severe was an EF2 tornado that destroyed several homes between Leesville and Many in west-central Louisiana; many of the others were EF1. No deaths or injuries were reported. There were also reports of high winds in Texas (4), Louisiana (3), and Mississippi (2), and large hail in Texas (1) and Mississippi (2, with the largest being 1.75" (4.5 cm)). Lastly, two thunderstorms produced considerable hail on January 19 in east Texas, one near Longview and Marshall and the other near Lufkin and Nacogdoches, with a maximum diameter of 2.5" (6.5 cm) near Marshall.
Western Region (Information provided by the Western Region Climate Center)
January brought a spatial La Niña-like precipitation pattern to the western United States, however precipitation anomalies were shifted towards with the dry side of the spectrum. The northern tier of the Pacific Northwest experienced near-normal precipitation while much drier-than-normal conditions persisted elsewhere. This precipitation pattern resulted from an exceptionally strong ridge of blocking high pressure causing notable poleward displacement of the Pacific storm track. Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana received near-normal precipitation. Olympia, WA observed its 17th wettest January in 75 years of record keeping with 10.8 in. (274 mm) of precipitation (3 in. (75 mm) above average, 138% of average). Many locations in the West, even in mountain regions, measured zero precipitation. In some cases, this marked the first time since records began than an entirely dry January occurred. Locations observing their driest January include: Reno, NV (1.2 in. below average (0 mm), 0% of average; 128 years of records), Winnemucca, NV (1 in. (25 mm) below average, 0% of average, 144 years of records), Fresno, CA (2.2 in. below average (56 mm), 0% of average; 135 years of records), Seligman, AZ, (1.1 in. (28 mm) below average, 0% of average, 102 years of records), and Carlsbad, NM (0.4 in. (10 mm) below average, 0% of average, 77 years of records).
January started with well-above average to near-record snow water equivalent throughout the Sierra Nevada, southern to central Cascades, and the southern interior mountains. Following the extremely dry January with no snowpack accumulation, windy conditions, and above normal solar radiation and temperatures, snowpacks suffered and dropped to near-normal conditions. Mountains in the central Great Basin and southern Cascades fell to below-normal. With near-normal precipitation, snowpacks in the northern Cascades maintained their climatological accumulation, finishing the month with close to average conditions along the western. Drier-than-normal conditions caused interior Rocky Mountain snowpacks to fall to slightly below-normal. Despite the wet start to the water year in many locations, subsequent winter months will need to be wetter than normal to help ameliorate longer-term drought conditions. Drought in the West is overall less severe than at this time in 2021 with less than 20% of the West in extreme to exceptional drought compared to 45% one year ago.
The blocking ridge of high pressure over the west favored generally near to slightly above-normal temperatures in the Pacific Southwest (0-3°F; 0–1.8°C). The Pacific Northwest experienced somewhat colder (2-6°F; 1.2–3.3°C) than normal temperatures, with the coldest anomalies found in central Idaho. Pocatello, ID observed its 28th coldest January since record-keeping began in 1939 with a mean temperature of 21°F (-6.1°C), which is 4.6°F (2.6°C) below normal. Hot temperature anomalies (2-6°F; 1.2–3.3°C above normal) occurred east of the Rocky Mountains in Montana and Wyoming and east of the Wasatch Range in Utah with several pockets of much above normal (6-8°F; 3.3-4.4°C) in the central eastern Montana high plains and northeastern Utah.
Sea surface temperatures (SST) north of the Hawaiian Islands continue to measure 1.5–3°F (1-1.8°C) above normal. Colder SST anomalies associated with stronger-than-normal trade winds and enhanced equatorial upwelling (signals of La-Niña) also continue to be observed south of the islands. Consistent with the anomalously warm SSTs, temperatures on the Hawaiian Islands also were above normal. Precipitation was varied across the islands. Honolulu (Oahu) received 6.34 in. (161 mm) of precipitation, making January its 14th wettest since record keeping began in 1940 (345% of normal). Yet at Kahului (Maui), only 0.08 in (2 mm) were recorded, the fourth driest January (3% of normal) since observations started in 1905.
Temperatures in Alaska were generally near normal during January, with above normal temperatures being observed in Southcentral Alaska. With a mean January temperature of 20.7°F (-6.3°C; 3.8°F (2.1°C) above normal), Anchorage observed its 17th warmest January since observations began in 1953. Precipitation anomalies across Alaska ranged from below normal in the Western and Interior regions whereas Southeast Alaska received well-above normal precipitation. Juneau observed 12.29 in. (312 mm) of precipitation, its wettest January (204% of normal) since records began in 1937. Snowpack also ranged widely at the end of January, with SNOTEL stations in the White Mountains northeast of Fairbanks reporting record values of snow water equivalent but stations in the Kenai Peninsula reporting below median snow water equivalent. North of the Turnagain Arm in the Chugach Mountains, snowpacks were above median. Bering Sea ice extent ended the month above the long-term average and at its highest extent since 2013.
- Significant Event for January 2022
- For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.
Record Wet January in Southeast Alaska Leads to State of Emergency: Heavy snowfall followed by rainfall in southeastern Alaska resulted in officials declaring a state of emergency in response to numerous impacts. In addition to typical flood impacts, buildings were collapsing beneath the weight of water-laden snow on roofs throughout the region, Juneau schools were cancelled due to unsafe street conditions, and water supply infrastructure in Klawock was damaged. Rain-on-snow loading combined with a weak snowpack structure promoted widespread avalanche activity in Southeast Mountains throughout the month. Emergency responses have been hampered by poor road conditions and avalanche hazard.