Warmest January on record in U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on February 08, 2006

As expected, January 2006 was by far the warmest January in the U.S. since record keeping began in 1895. According to data released by the National Climatic Data Center yesterday, the country's average temperature for the month was 39.5 degrees Fahrenheit, 8.5 degrees above average, and a full 2.2 degrees above the old record of 37.3 degrees set in January 1953. The 3-month period November through January was the third warmest such 3-month period on record. Temperatures over the past 6 months (August-January) were the warmest on record, and temperatures for the past year (February - January) were the fifth warmest on record.

Every state recorded above average temperatures, and 15 states recorded their warmest January ever (Figure 1). Temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees above normal were common across much of the northern Plains (Figure 2), and only a few small pockets in the Western states saw below normal temperatures.

Figure 1. How each state ranked in terms of record warm temperatures for January 2006. A rank of 112 means it was the warmest January on record for the past 112 years.

Figure 2. Temperature departure from normal for January 2006.

Precipitation for January 2006 was above average, ranking 29th wettest (Figure 3). However, regions of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and surrounding states had much below precipitation, contributing to severe drought conditions. Phoenix, Arizona, has not had precipitation since October 18--a stretch of 113 days--breaking its old record for longest dry stretch, 101 days in 1993. There's no rain in sight for Arizona, and the current La Nina pattern is likely to bring below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures to the region for the next few months. Current dryness levels in Arizona forests are typical of those in late July, and we can expect one of Arizona's worst fire seasons on record this year.

Residents of Arizona may want to consider moving to Olympia, Washington, which set a new record for the most consecutive days with precipitation--35 (their old record was 31 days in 1953). Washington had its 2nd wettest January ever.

Figure 3. Precipitation departure from normal for January 2006.

January statistics for the rest of the globe will not be available until late next week. I'll report then on whether January 2006 was the warmest month on record globally, as well. Given the severe cold seen in Asia, I'd be surprised.

Figure 4. Visible satellite image from 1330 GMT February 8, 2006. Image credit: Naval Research Laboratory.

Alberto watch
A large cold-cored non-tropical low pressure system spinning off the coast of Africa near the Canary Islands has gained a bit of deep convection over the past 24 hours, and has about a 10% chance of becoming Subtropical Storm Alberto in the next few days. Waters temperatures are a cool 20 - 22 C over the region, and the low is forecast to drift towards the coast of Africa and gradually dissipate by the end of the week.

Jeff Masters

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78. TampaSteve
4:36 PM GMT on February 09, 2006
cyclonebuster wrote:

"That one call where they said the Pittsburgh QB crossed the Goal line was one of the worst calls I have ever seen and for it to happen in the super bowl is just crazy.Clearly the ball hit the groung at least six inches from the goal line.That was the turning point of the game."

Actually, if you watch the replay, you can clearly see the nose of the ball over the white of the goal line while Roethlisberger was still in the air. At that moment, the touchdown was scored, and the play was over, by NFL rules. Anything that happened after that moment is irrelevant.
76. dcw
11:09 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
I'm very close to declaring STS1a. The winds are very close to the center now, and some convection has developed on the storm's SW side. If I see one good band persist around the center this morning, I'll upgrade.
Member Since: August 2, 2001 Posts: 2 Comments: 3
74. Califonia
7:12 AM GMT on February 09, 2006

Global Freezing

While those in the eastern half of the continental United States have been experiencing an unusually mild January this year, others around the globe have not been so fortunate.

The North American Great Lakes remain ice-free so far this season, but many areas in Europe and Asia are experiencing one of the most frigid winters in several decades. According to reports from the BBC Website, temperatures in Moscow have hit lows not seen since the late 1920s, and the energy infrastructure, which supplies many neighboring countries, struggled to keep up with demand.

73. Inyo
6:11 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
Well if it happens in nature it is a sure bet man can reproduce the effect.

that makes no sense. Hurricanes happen in nature, we can't reproduce hurricanes, thankfully. We can't create the rockies again or cause earthquakes. there are plenty of things that happen in nature that we can't reproduce

How wide will these tunnels be? Building tunnels like these is similar to saying you are going to build a giant slide from Tibet to Los Angeles so L.A. can have snow in the winter.

No need, there's usually snow in the winter within 30 miles of LA anyway, just need to drive to it
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 918
72. Trouper415
5:29 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
How wide will these tunnels be? Building tunnels like these is similar to saying you are going to build a giant slide from Tibet to Los Angeles so L.A. can have snow in the winter.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 714
70. Milton1583
5:24 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
I don't have time to read your links tonight, but I will soon enough
68. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
5:12 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
well good night
67. Milton1583
5:10 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
Yes I agree I misunderstood some things but then I read it again and it was clearer.

Another question I have to ask is: are you sure that the current that is going to be running through these tunnels will be sufficient enough to cause upwelling? How are the tunnels going to be designed?
65. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
5:06 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
i have a new blog up
64. Milton1583
4:58 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
I do not find flaw with the idea theoretically. Of course upwelling of cold water is a known factor in the weakening process of hurricanes and if you could cause something such as this then you could theoretically weaken the hurricane.

Problem is that this is simply an impossible practical reality. Do you understand how much water it will take to pull this off? I do not have a calculation on hand but I imagine it would take enough water to fill half of Lake Erie to sufficiently pull it off. Where is all that water going to come from? The obvious answer is the ocean. But then how are you going to cool it? Huge problem. Enormous cost.

If you wish to 'modify' hurricanes I suggest the best route would be to join the anti-global warming movement. For from what I have seen of the last 20 years of weather data personally has me believing that this is a serious reality we are being faced with. A major consequence of global warming is more hurricanes.
62. Milton1583
4:44 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
That isn't consistent with any weather theory I've ever read or heard. Do you have some kind of documentation explaining this theory? Or could you point me to some reading?

Note that I am no expert on the weather, I have a moderate interest in it.
60. Milton1583
4:32 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
I dunno, but from what I've seen talk of these 'tunnels' seems to dominate every entry on this blog. Honestly you should take the discussion to a chat room or something to avoid cluttering up the post. I'd rather talk weather.

And here is a tidbit of wisdom for you. The God-fearing person should admit when they are wrong. If they do not then they are not God-fearing or they are right.
57. stansimms72
4:24 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
the big bang theory........................

God spoke and BANG!!!!!!! it happened.
56. stansimms72
4:23 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
my tunnels would have prevented the officials from blowing calls in sunday's super bowl.
54. globalize
4:20 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
Oh, I'm not cutting down your idea cyclone. I say go to it.
Somebody's got to do sump'n!
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
52. Milton1583
4:13 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
NAO and AO are both forecasted by GFS and Ensemble to go positive. Lets keep our fingers crossed that it happens so we can have some warmer weather.
51. globalize
4:11 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
Just think of the potential corporate welfare boondoggle these tunels could be, if such projects were ever started.
A couple trillion to mix out enough water to cool off the oceans a little, while corporate bubba expansion heats them up again!
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
50. phillyfan909
4:01 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
Inyo I feel the same, I don't see a contradiction between spiritual beliefs on one hand and evolution/science on the other. They aren't concerned about the same thing IMO, so they can't be contradictory.
49. Califonia
3:59 AM GMT on February 09, 2006

LOL, Inyo...
47. ForecasterColby
3:52 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
No, the more I think about them the better joke material I find.
45. Inyo
3:49 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
that's a good thing, since divine intervention is the only thing that will make them work :)
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 918
44. ForecasterColby
3:42 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
And The LORD said, let there be tunnels to cool the waters.
42. ForecasterColby
3:32 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
I believe evolution occurs. However, I don't nessessarily buy that it's where we came from.

Evolution refers to accumulated changes in organisms. However, the term is usually used to refer to the theory that all organisms go back to a common ancestor, which is *not* the definition of evolution.

However, this is not the place to discuss this sort of thing, unless somehow Jurassic weather patterns are involved. However, for the sake of a good discussion, feel free: Link
41. ForecasterColby
3:28 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
Inyo, the theory you hold to is one variant of Big Bang theory, the so-called oscillating universe model.
39. Inyo
3:27 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
as a biologist i believe in evolution 100%. But this doesnt interfere with my spiritual beliefs in any way which are far from atheist. I won't get too deeply into it on this message board, because i know people are easily offended when this is discussed... but i will say this. I am not christian but i was raised Catholic so i do have some understanding of tie bible, etc, and i myself don't even see or understand how the bible and evolution contradict each other.

but that isnt important. what is important is this: MY TUNNELS caused the big bang and created the universe!
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 918
38. ForecasterColby
3:23 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
There are two major strikes against the Big Bang:

1) What caused it in the first place and

2) Why was there more matter than antimatter? Physics conserves matter - antimatter pairs.

ID makes a good deal of sense to me. Does the world around you look like something from random chance? It doesn't to me.
37. Inyo
3:18 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
The precip patterns are especially amazing... showing the variation of California, San Diego appears to be at about 5% of average precipitation in places while Mammoth Lakes, 250 miles north or so, is at 300% of average! What this all means is that we will have plenty of water in LA this year, since it comes from northern California.

For what its worth, this dry spell seems to actually be beneifitting the native plants up in the mountains. With their deep roots, they are using the water left over from last winter and this fall, and are producing flowers and seeds while the weeds are barely able to sprout at all. California's weather is extremely variable though, and an old oak tree has probably gone through 30 or 40 years like this already.

As for the Big Bang... not to get off topic, but how does this theory negate religious beliefs at all? I mean, the theory is that the universe suddenly was created from a tiny point.. it doesnt say why or how. FOr all we know' [Insert Deity Here] said 'let there be light' and set the big bang off.

I was never a big fan of the big bang theory though, i tend to hold to the theory that the universe is continually expanding and then contracting, setting off another big bang 'pulse' every 300 billion years or so.
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 918
36. Califonia
3:12 AM GMT on February 09, 2006

Big Bang
The Ultimate Intergalactic Weather Report

Well, I guess that ties it in to this website... :)

It seems reasonable that as black holes accumulate more and more matter, at some point an unknown process causes them to explode into a "big bang".

It may not have been just one - perhaps they happen from time to time in different places, like supernovae, but with many billions of years in between.

Which means it's a cycle that just keeps going forever...

Big Bang = theory, with evidence, not proof

Intelligent Design = hardly even a theory - no evidence, although I guess it could be possible that intelligent space aliens from another universe did create this one...

35. weatherworried
2:59 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
StSimonsIslandGAGuy :

I looked at your link. At first sight there are around 2600 names on that
list. I don't understand: I thought there were only about 1000 deaths from
34. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
2:50 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
ForecasterColby mail for you
33. Califonia
2:45 AM GMT on February 09, 2006

Posted By: primez at 7:57 PM GMT on February 08, 2006.

I know this doesn't have anything to do with the topic at hand, but I just found out that Hurricane Wilma's Top Maximum Sustained Wind Speed has been increased to 185 mph.


That hurricane has been gone for months, and it's still getting stronger!


32. ForecasterColby
2:42 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
If it does, all bets are off for 2006.
30. Jeptic
2:09 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
Colby, I'm all for your STS Alberto as long as it doesn't come anywhere near us in the Eastern Caribbean
29. ForecasterColby
2:09 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
By the way, I didn't literally mean the NYT was run by the DNC.
28. ForecasterColby
1:26 AM GMT on February 09, 2006
Oh, by the way, our soon-to-be-STS is really lookin good. I may declare it tonight if the current trend continues.

First - continued wrapping of windfield:

Second - Continued convection near center: Link

Third - I really want STS Alberto :P

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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