January began the way December ended - bitterly cold. A nearly unprecedented cold wave of fourteen-days, all with highs colder than 32°, began on Dec. 26 and continued through Jan. 8. But after shivering through the first eight days of the month, which were 16 degrees colder than average (the coldest start of a year since 1968), the remainder of the month was almost five degrees above average (but there were three days with highs of 32° or colder and one with a high of 33°). This milder stretch of days made the month just slightly below average (-0.9 degree). For the entire month there were sixteen days that were either ten degrees or more above or below average (there were eight of each), the most in January since 2004. Finally, not only were the first eight days frigid, but a snowstorm on Jan. 4 dumped nearly ten inches of snow on the City (then just 1.4" fell in the next four weeks). Here are some other observations:
- The month was on the dry side, with 2.18" of precipitation measured, comparable to what fell in November (1.58") and December (2.21"). The three months received about half of the typical amount of precipitation (5.96" vs. 11.67"). Additionally, the past seven months have all had below average rainfall.
- December/January combined were the coldest in seven years, since the winter of 2010-11.
- Jan. 6 was the coldest day of the cold wave, with a high/low of just 13/6. And while Feb. 14, 2016 had a colder mean temperature (high/low of 15/-1), 1/6's high was the coldest since Jan. 16, 1994, when it was just 10°. Then five days after the low was 5° on 1/7 (22 degrees below average), the high on 1/12 soared to 61° (23 degrees above average).
- On Jan. 15 the high of 30° was the nineteenth of the winter that was 32° or colder, the most by mid-January since the winter of 1981. (The typical number for an entire winter is seventeen.) In the past 100 years only three winters had more freezing or colder high temperatures by 1/15: 1977 (25), 1918 (23) and 1981 (21).
- January and December both had eight days with highs of 50° or milder, but January had more days of 55+ (five vs. three) and 60+ (two vs. one).
- Although January's temperature was below average this was due to the low temperature being 2.2 degrees colder than average. The average high was actually 0.4 degrees above average. This 2.6-degree disparity between the high and low was the greatest since 1994, when it was 3.0 degrees (the high was 4.4 degrees below average and the high was 7.4 degrees below).