Warmest January Ever

January 31, 2006 at 12:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It looks like this will wind up being our warmest January ever. With one day left in the month, our average daily high temperature this month has been 68.2 degrees, almost 2 degrees above the previous record (66.4 degrees, in 1923). And we have only had one freeze the entire month of January. That is also a record for the fewest number of freezes.

Those very warm temperatures have resulted partially from a lack of arctic cold fronts surging southward across the country. Except for a week in early December, the arctic air has remained bottled up in northern Canada and Alaska all winter. Earlier Monday morning, the temperature in parts of Alaska dropped to minus 45 degrees! So there is plenty of cold air. It is just not moving south as cold fronts into Texas and on into the Gulf of Mexico. And because of that lack of cold outbreaks, the sea-surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbeanb Sea, and tropical Atlantic Ocean have remained abnormally warm. We actually had a tropical storm that persisted from late December into early January; only the second time in history that has ever happened. And with so few arctic outbreaks penetrating into the Gulf, it seems likely that the water temperatures in the Gulf will remain warmer than normal thoughout the winter and spring. That should lead to water temperatures reaching the requisite 80 degrees earlier than usual, which, in turn could mean an early start to the next hurricane season.

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