7 airports set all-time January highs; Chicago sees record-late snow

By: Angela Fritz , 8:40 PM GMT on January 29, 2013

All-time January high records set this month.

According to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, there have now been seven major airports in the U.S. that have set all-time warmest temperature records for the month of January (Topeka, KS, Columbia, MO, San Jose, CA, Fayetteville, NC, Bluefield, WV, Bradford, PA, and Evanston, WY); two have set all-time lows (Aspen, CO and Alturas, CA.)

On the snow front, Chicago had its first official 1" snow of the season back on January 25th, the latest date that's ever occurred in the period of official weather records. The previous record-latest 1" snow in Chicago was on January 17, 1899. Weather trivia: Al Capone, who would later become a notorious figure in Chicago history, was born on January 17th, 1899. He died on January 25th, (1947).

Embarrass, MN hit a brisk -42 degrees F on January 24th, which is no record, but chilly nonetheless. Embarrass is the would-be holder of the all-time Minnesota low temperature record, but on February 2, 1996, the Embarrass thermometer broke at an incredible -56 °F and the nearby Tower weather station went all the way for the -60 °F record which is on the books. Unofficially, Embarrass did hit -64 °F on a second thermometer nearby, so they tend to get an honorable mention in the story, because who can blame them for instrument failure?

The Embarrass weather station is housed in a little shack, though it seems like the actual measurements are done about 1/4 of a mile away in a coop observer's backyard. Inside there is a sign-in book with people from all over the world as well as newspaper articles on the walls from the February 2, 1996 record reading of -56 °F, according to a personal account by Daniel Dix at The Weather Channel.

The weather station shack in Embarrass, MN.

Keep warm!

Angela, filling in for Chris

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

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6. WunderAlertBot
10:28 PM GMT on January 31, 2013
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. Dempy56
10:16 AM GMT on January 31, 2013
The 97 degrees at San Jose in January is incorrect.
Looking back at hourly readings would show this.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. maxcrc
8:24 AM GMT on January 30, 2013
There was no record whatsoever at Alturas, not even minimally close to it. Alturas serie starts in 1905,while the municipal airport serie starts just in 1998, so totally unmeaningful for climatic statistics which requires a minimum of 30 years to be representative.

Obviously if we open a station today, tomorrow we will set both its all-time record high and low.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. maxcrc
8:22 AM GMT on January 30, 2013
BTW Lund NV has indeed set a record low for January and it has tied its all time low of -18F set in December 1984.
As always the NCDC database is wrong, because they have gaps in December 1984 and the record was wrongly accounted as absolute, when in fact it's just a tied record.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. maxcrc
8:19 AM GMT on January 30, 2013
There was no record in Aspen,not even minimally close,the record belongs to January 1943 in the station 50370, just 1 mile from the current station 50372. The NCDC data is wrong, they don t even accounted the January 1943 record with -38.3C,instead they have the January 1963 -36.1C as record for the station 50370.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. cedar13
12:14 AM GMT on January 30, 2013
I remember 2/2/1996 well. We had a low of -32F in MSP and a high of -17F. The coldest strech of weather I have ever experienced.
Year Month Day High Low in F
1996 1 29 21 -13
1996 1 30 -7 -20
1996 1 31 2 -23
1996 2 1 -12 -27
1996 2 2 -17 -32
1996 2 3 -11 -26
1996 2 4 4 -23
1996 2 5 13 -6
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.