January’s weather continued our trend of cooler and drier-than-normal conditions in Denton County, with no break in the drought. While most of the county is listed in the “Extreme Drought” category, southern Denton County is even worse, listed under “Exceptional Drought.” The brown local landscape, dust and high Mountain Cedar pollen counts all confirm that diagnosis.
The month started and ended with cooler-than-normal temperatures, but we had a couple warm streaks with highs in the 60’s and 70’s during the last half of the month, topping out near 80 on the 28th.
We also had some unusually cold temperatures early in the month, with a low of 18 on the 5th and 15 degrees on the 8th. Our day/night average temperature for January was about 42 degrees, a full 2 degrees cooler than normal.
As the month came to a close, Denton Municipal Airport recorded 3.39″ of rain, which was about a half inch below normal. Most of the rain came early in the month; .71″ on the 1st, .56″ on the 2nd and .24″ on the 3rd of January. We picked up .22″ on the 10th and 11th, and another .21″ on the 21st. The month closed with a nice rainy day on the 31st that resulted in .65”. Our best single-day rain was .80″ on the 22nd. On average, Denton County has received only about one-third of its normal rainfall in the past year.
Forecasters are about ready to give up on the weak El Nino they’ve been predicting for over a year, yet there’s reason to believe February could be wetter than January. The current weather pattern favors more storms in the subtropical Pacific, which spread southwest to northeast across Texas.
Meanwhile, a separate pattern of sea-surface temperatures known as the “Pacific Decadal Oscillation,” indicates the Polar jet stream will bring more significant cold air outbreaks to North Texas during February. If above-normal precipitation and colder-than-normal temperatures coincide, we can expect a round of icy weather sooner rather than later.
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 “The Wolf.” Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.