The first month of the New Year started off cooler and wetter than normal with a minimum of fuss, but mid-January managed to give Denton County a good scare.
By the numbers, January’s average high temperature was 49, more than five degrees below the normal average high of 55.5. The warmest day of the month (as of 1/28) was January 11th when it warmed to 70 degrees. The average low temperature for the month was 28, which was 4 degrees cooler than the norm of 32. The day/night average temperature for the month was 38 degrees, which was 6 degrees cooler than January’s climatological average of 44.
Rainfall was frequently generous for the month. With an average rainfall of only 1.84”, January is normally the second driest month of year, behind only July. January 2024 was different. Rainfall was recorded on at least 11 days during the month for a total of 2.43” at Denton Enterprise Airport.
Here are the weekly totals: Week #1 – .69”; Week #2 – .47”; Week #3 – 0”; Week #4 – 1.27”. In all, January’s frequent rains exceeded the January norm by .59”.
No severe weather in Denton County was reported to the National Weather Service during the month, however, January was not without a little drama.
An Arctic front, a true “Norther,” blasted into North Texas on January 13th, a beautiful day. North winds and unrestrained cold air dropped the temperature from 60 degrees that afternoon to a low of 19 degrees the next morning. And that wound up being the high temperature for the 14th, as the overnight low dropped to 11 degrees. High temperatures reached the mid 20’s on the 15th and 16th, but overnight lows continued to drop to 9 and 10. Denton had one more exceptionally cold night with a low of 15 on the morning of January 20th, but temperatures have moderated nicely since then. Light snow blanketed Denton County lawns, at least for a few hours, on the morning of MLK Day. As the temps moderated, we also had a few foggy mornings late in the month for good measure.
Looking ahead, the Climate Prediction Center forecasts near-normal temperatures and precipitation through February, which would mean slightly colder temperatures and precipitation of 2.4 inches for the month.
The El Nino of warm waters in the central Pacific Ocean is likely to produce a few more storm systems which may approach Texas from across Mexico. Neither the Global Forecast System nor the European Medium-Range Model is forecasting any unusually strong Arctic intrusions reaching North Texas during the first two weeks of February. Still, North Texas weather generally produces an average of three “snow days” each winter, so don’t plant your onions just yet.
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/93.3 FM and 570 KLIF which originate Emergency weather warnings for North Texas.