Our January forecast was only half right. January was definitely warmer than normal but contrary to the forecast, it was also wetter than normal. We had plenty of extremes, too.
Our temperature range through the month was an exceptionally wide 71 degrees. During the second Arctic plunge of the season, Denton Enterprise Airport dropped to just 8 degrees on the morning of January 7th. Four days later, on January 11th, we hit 79 degrees. That may be why your church piano is already out-of-tune.
Despite low humidity most of the month, North Texas had some big rains, placing this January among the top 10 Januarys for rainfall. At Denton, total rainfall for January was 2.96 inches, which was 1.2″ above normal. Our first big rain dropped .86″ over the first two days of the month. Our second big rain, 2.10″, was spread over five days from the 13th through the 18th.
And despite the big rains, our average temperatures during January were much warmer than normal. The day-night average temperature for January turned out to be 46.4 degrees, nearly 3 degrees warmer than normal.
Looking ahead, slight cooling of the central and eastern Pacific ocean indicates the forecast La Nina may be slower to develop and weaker than originally thought. Remembering that the last El Nino was slower and weaker than forecast, there’s reason to believe our warm, dry long-term La Nina-based forecast may need some revision, too. But for now, current long-range forecasts through spring and summer favor warmer-than-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation for North Texas.
It’s also worth noting that Tornado Watch #1 and the first multiple outbreak of tornadoes in the United States this year occurred in North-Central Texas around the middle of January. Since then we’ve enjoyed relative calm weather, which should continue through early February. But regardless of the timing and strength of this year’s La Nina, we should be ready for an early onset of severe storms.
If you’d like to learn how trained storm spotters recognize and report severe weather, please make plans to attend the Denton County Skywarn training program Saturday, February 25, at Texas Woman’s University. Basic spotter training begins at 9 a.m. Advanced training begins at 1 p.m. And if you have a young person in your family who’s either frightened by, or just crazy for storms, they’ll enjoy the video and demonstrations. Best of all, it’s free.
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP820/570KLIF/99.5 The Wolf.