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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

Climate Summaries

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Thank you for this blog. I have been feeling this winter had been odd and now with your words here.. I got stuff to back up my feelings.
The NHC has released its report on Hurricane Maria. (www.nhc.noaa.gov/2005atlan.shtml?)
Nothing Changes Thank God - Maria was Still a Cat. 3 Hurricane At Hight
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.

Just thought you would like to know...
We've not only been warm - but dry....having fires in February. We could definitely use some rain. The Santa Ana's are blowing today - and our kids had to be on rainy day recess yesterday because of the air quality (too many ashes in the air) and my car is covered with ashes. Might try to capture a photo of that today.

Karen in Seal Beach, California
This is just wonderful. It turns out that George Deutsch, who was the political appointee at NASA who told public affairs personnel to limit access to the climate scientist in last week's controversy lied on his resume and has resigned. He said he had a journalism degree from Texas A&M but he never graduated. In addition to surpressing scientists's warnings of the global warming threat, he required that the Big Bang be refered to as a 'theory'.

How can Bush appoint someone to such a position who has NO science experience or qualifications whatsoever?

He was a campaign worker for the 2004 election and got a plum job!


or link

Weather Modification Bill~ Jamie from Senator Hutchison's office indicated that they were trying to get it past the senate floor this week (6-10 February 2006).

Today is the time to drop an e-mail to your senators.

I'm still not sure what to think about this issue, but this bill, among other things, creates a small deciding committee, that in my opinion, lackes input from the field of agriculture & several science communities, as well as the public.
Today it was a warm one here in Southern California. It hit 86 today but it was expected to be 91 today so nothing to complain about (hint the sarcasm). Hasnt rained in the Down Town LA area in since January 14th. No real chance of rain in sight.
Breifly - the Big Bang IS a theory. There is evidence, but not proof. It is not disprovable, therefore it can never be considered fact.

E Atl low still looking good, if we see STS Alberto it'll likely be tomorrow morning.
If it was a record warm month in North Florida in January, it is sure making up for it in February. We rarely have temperature in the 20's but it looks like it is going to occur a couple of times in the next week.
And that big bang theory has been taking a beating this last year to boot.

It's that Bush plant at NASA i find intriguing to say the least.

The winds seem to be moving toward the center more, but it is awefully close to land...

From the Washington Monthly
BLINDED BY SCIENCE....George Deutsch, a 24-year old former intern with the Bush/Cheney campaign, is the guy who instructed a NASA web designer to add the word "theory" to every reference to the Big Bang:

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."

There was also an article in above link that said people were being layed off in the alternative energy research department...
Winds are definetly wrapping up, I'm maybe 50% sure I'll upgrade to STS1 tomorrow morning.

Take anything and everything in the New York Times with the same grain of salt you would from the DNC, since they're pactically a subset.

Skye, to reiterate, the Big Bang is a theory. It is not fact. I happen to believe it, but it's not fact.
What about Alaska?
Alaska was around normal, I think...anyone got the data?
Methinks we have a Subtropical Storm soon - notice the convection going halfway around the center and wrapping fast. Link
hey Colby~ i know it's a theory, just thought i'd let Deutsch defend himself...lol. I think your brief explination would have served him better. Though I'd wouldn't say never...They've made more ground for it since I was a kid.
More evidence = better theory, not fact.
yep, more evidence, but evidence that raises even more questions!
OK Big Bang is a theory, but it is the current scientific consensus. Fair point though. As for the NYT being a branch of the DNC, what is the evidence for that? It is interesting how so many conservatives, when confronted with facts that they don't like, attack the source as being supposedly liberal instead of the substance of the facts or story.
Regardless~ a 24 year old with nearly a degree in journalism, shouldn't be ordering anyone to change something a NASA scientist wrote.
Slakskin~ North of the jet stream, temperatures across Alaska were much-below average. Fairbanks reached a minimum temperature of minus 51 degrees F Jan. 27, with a high of only minus 40 degrees F for that day. The last time the temperature in Fairbanks reached minus 50 degrees F, or below, was in December 1999. The normal minimum for Fairbanks in January is minus 19 degrees F and a normal high is zero degrees F. For the month, Fairbanks had a mean temperature 12.4 degrees F below normal. link

Seems it's predicted that Feb Alaska will have higher than average temps.

In the case of the NYT, there have been several examples in which they stretch things I've directly witnessed or gotten direct information on. Good enough for me. Though I'm not one of the conservatives who will claim that Fox is anything close to fair and balanced.

Cyclone, allow me to give a very breif explanation of the Big Bang theory.

*** All the following is theory ***

The Universe started as an infinitely dense, infinitly small object, similar to a Black Hole's singularity. When time and space began, the Universe immidiately began to expand. In the first 10^-14 seconds, pretty much everything that would ever matter was determined - would our universe be matter or antimatter? What would the laws of physics be? etc. Anyway, the early universe was so hot that particles were able to spontaneously create themselves from the absurdly high energy densities (this has been duplicated in the lab, with difficulty). Particles called H (might be X) Higgs Bosons decomposed into a ratio of approximately 1,000,000,000:999,999,999 matter to antimatter. The 999,999,999 pairs almost instantaneously annihilated, leaving just 1 per billion particles and approximately a billion bosons (photons, gluons, W & Z bosons, gravitons) per particle (also fairly consistant with evidence). The universe rapidly expanded at this point, and at about T=3 minutes, the first nuclei were able to form. The heat and pressure were intense enough to allow fusion to occur for approximately the next two minutes, giving us a universe of ~ 78% Hydrogen, 22% Helium, and trace Lithium. They couldn't form whole atoms until the universe had cooled down a lot more - which took approximately 300,000 years. At that point, they were able to capture electrons, and the universe became transparent for the first time (before, photons would be grabbed by the 10^[absurdly high number] of free electrons flying around). At about T=1 million years, they were able to begin their collapse into stars. The first known stars began to shine here: short, extremely hot stars which went supernova within a million years or less. These supernovae created heavier elements, which were then incorporated into 2nd and 3rd generation stars (our sun is believed to be 2nd or 3rd generation).

*** End theory ***

Hope that clears things up a bit.
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
By the way, I didn't literally mean the NYT was run by the DNC.
Colby, I'm all for your STS Alberto as long as it doesn't come anywhere near us in the Eastern Caribbean
On a less polically partisan note, this link is very sad:

If it does, all bets are off for 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!


ForecasterColby mail for you
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

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...

37. Inyo
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.
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.
39. Inyo
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!
weatherworried, the confirmed death toll is 1,417 from Katrina. About 2,600 are missing, but the bodies are not found from Louisiana, and 600 more from Mississippi.
Inyo, the theory you hold to is one variant of Big Bang theory, the so-called oscillating universe model.
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
And The LORD said, let there be tunnels to cool the waters.
45. Inyo
that's a good thing, since divine intervention is the only thing that will make them work :)
No, the more I think about them the better joke material I find.

LOL, Inyo...
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.
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!
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.
Oh, I'm not cutting down your idea cyclone. I say go to it.
Somebody's got to do sump'n!
my tunnels would have prevented the officials from blowing calls in sunday's super bowl.
the big bang theory........................

God spoke and BANG!!!!!!! it happened.
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.
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.
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.
i have a new blog up
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?
well good night
I don't have time to read your links tonight, but I will soon enough
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.
73. Inyo
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

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.

76. dcw
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.
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.