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home : local news : local news December 17, 2014

2/11/2013 2:37:00 PM
Wet January helps catch up with drought
Daily News

Crawford County was slightly cooler and a lot wetter in January, according to figures supplied by Official Weather Observer Ron Brock, Palestine.

The average daytime high in January was slightly more than 39.9 degrees, down from almost 43.65 degrees a year earlier.

The warmest temperature of the month, however, was actually higher than in 2012. The mercury hit 65 on Jan. 30, a day after it was 64. Last year, the warmest temperature was 61 degrees on Jan. 6.

Most January highs were in the 30s, with four days with highs in the 20s and one - the 22nd - with a high of only 17. It also warmed up to 50s five times and the 60s three times.

Last year, the temperature reached the 60s twice during the month and the 50s 11 times. On the other hand, it never rose above freezing on seven days, including the 13th. The high that day was a frosty 19.

The average overnight low in January was 21.4, down from 25.5 last year. The coldest temperature of the month was 6, reported Jan. 2, 3 and 22. This was down from a low of 10, reported Jan. 14, 2012.

Most lows were in the teens and 20s, compared to the 30s a year earlier. Temperatures dipped below freezing 25 times during the month, compared to 24 in 2012.

Officially, the record January low remains at 19 below, set Jan. 28, 1963. The mercury dropped to negative numbers six times and it never rose above 59 during that month. The warmest temperature on record for the month is 75, reported Jan. 24, 1943.

Only .51 inch of snow was reported during the month, with a half-inch falling on New Year's Day. The other .01 inch fell on the 31st.

Rain was more common; 5.05 inches was recorded, including .48 inch of freezing rain Jan. 13. Much of the month's total precipitation fell during the days prior to that, with 2.52 inches falling Jan. 12 alone.

A total of 5.1 inches of rain fell here during January 2012. This included 1.27 inches reported Jan. 17 and 1.82 that fell Jan. 21 and 22. That two-day rainfall was often mixed with freezing rain. An inch of snow fell Jan. 12, followed by another half-inch on the 13th. A half-inch was also recorded Jan. 2.

Only 1.33 inches of rain fell here in December. A half-inch of snow fell here Dec. 20, followed by a trace amount on the 21st. That snow was gone by Dec. 25, however, with the first real winter storm of the season hitting the next day.

The official snowfall total at Palestine was 9 inches Dec. 26. Another 3 inches fell Dec. 28, followed by 1 inch on the 29th. A cold snap made sure this snow stayed around. In all, more than 13.5 inches of snowfall was reported here during December.

The wettest December ever was in 1957, when Crawford County was soaked by 8.56 inches of rain. Things were dramatically different a year later when only .46 inch fell, making it the driest December in history. Record snowfall for the month, 14.1 inches, was recorded in 1935.

Snowfall was below average in January, but the statewide precipitation-which includes both rain and melted snow-was 3.9 inches, nearly 2 inches above average, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.

Precipitation for most of the state was in the three- to six-inch range except for some drier areas in central and western Illinois, Angel explained. It was wettest in southeastern Illinois with several sites receiving over 6 inches of precipitation, including Smithland Lock and Dam on the Ohio River with 9.7 inches.

Snowfall for January was below average and ranged from 6.5 inches in the northwest corner to zero in far southern Illinois.

Even though January finished with below-average snowfall, it was offset with above-average rainfall in many areas. As a result, the U.S. Drought Monitor has reduced the area in drought or abnormally dry conditions since Jan. 1 by 11 percent. Crawford and the surrounding counties are no longer overly dry.

The statewide temperature for January was 28.7 degrees, four degrees above average. It was far short of the warmest January on record that was established in 2006 with 37.9 degrees, followed closely by 1933 with 37.7 degrees.

Last year, January weather was unseasonably mild statewide. In fact, two-thirds of the way into the season, Illinois was enjoying its sixth warmest winter since 1895. The average temperature was 31.4 degrees and average precipitation was 1.87 inches.

The snowfall for January 2012 was generally below normal south of Interstate-74 with amounts in the range of 1 to 3 inches common. Snowfall was above normal north of I-74 with amounts in the range of 3 to 15 inches.

December was mild with the statewide average of 35.8 degree, 5.9 degrees above normal and the 13th warmest December on record. The statewide average precipitation was 2.3 inches, just 0.4 inches below normal.

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