Year starts off on a dry note

Meteorologist Brad Barton

January in Denton County was warm and exceptionally dry and area lakes show it. From the looks of things, Denton County could go under a burn ban any day now.

By the numbers, the warmest temperature was 74 on the 30th, while the coldest morning low was 20 degrees on the 12th. Taken together, the daily highs and lows produced an average monthly temperature of 44.4 degrees, 1 degree warmer than normal for the month.

Rainfall was quite sparse, even by January standards as one of the driest months of the year. Total rainfall at Denton Enterprise Airport was only .46″, 1.3 inches below normal.

The only significant rain event took place over the 24th and 25th of January and amounted to .24″. We had trace amounts on the 1st, 6th, 10th, 11th, 23rd, 27th and the 28th of January.

The rain event on the 24th was actually one of the few storms to come through Denton County during January. For the most part the worst of the storms missed Denton County.

Before we move to the extended forecast, we should probably take the time to review some grass fire/wildfire prevention tips from The National Fire Prevention Association: Clear dead leaves and pine needles from the roof and rain gutters; Store away flammable outdoor furniture, wood or rattan chairs, cushions, etc.; Check the exterior of your home for any unscreened holes and air vents, where windblown embers can start a fire inside; Rake up any leaves or mulch that touch the side, front or back of the house; Trim trees and bushes if they are within 5 feet of the house; Remove anything flammable within 30 feet of the house, such as firewood, spare lumber, etc.; If ordered to evacuate, be sure to close all windows and doors to keep blowing embers from getting inside the house.

We may need that advice as the long-range forecasts indicate February overall will be warmer than normal with near to slightly below-normal rainfall. The current La Nina (cooler than normal water temperatures in the Pacific) is expected to last through March. So, if our current weather regime doesn’t change, we will enter our spring grassland/wildfire season earlier than normal.

Winter has been very mild so far, but extended-range models are showing a significant breakout of Arctic air that could reach North Texas during the second week of February.

Brad Bartonhttp://www.wbap.com/weather-forecast/
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 “The Wolf” and the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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