Temperature departure Precip percent of normal Snowfall Percent of Normal
Total January Snowfall

Midwest Overview - January, 2006

The month of January was anomalously warm...one for the record books indeed.  During the month of January, 64 record maximum temperatures (or high minimum temperatures) were set across the Midwest!   The average daily temperature departures across the region for January were well above normal, ranging from 17°F above normal across north central Minnesota, to 13°F above normal across Illinois, and Indiana, to 8-10°F above normal in Kentucky and Missouri (Figure 1). 

Precipitation for the month was generally at or above average for a good portion of the Midwest (Figure 2).  The heaviest precipitation fell across western and northern Illinois into southern lower Michigan, where precipitation totals were 150 to 200% of normal.  Much of Minnesota and central Iowa saw precipitation deficits, with generally 25 to 50% of normal across Minnesota and 50-75% of normal in Iowa.  Due to the exceptionally warmer than average temperatures this month, precipitation was mainly in the form of rain, although each system brought some snowfall, and some of it was heavy across the central Midwest.  Snowfall for the month of January was generally much below average (Figure 3).  In fact, using a threshold of just eight inches, it is apparent that most  Midwesterners this month experienced a relative "snow-drought", as only a small fraction of the Midwest experienced decent snowfalls in what is typically known as the snowiest month of the year (Figure 4).  

Was January 2006 the Warmest or Least Snowiest On Record?

January was the warmest on record for 30 locations across the Midwest.  These are summarized in the following table:

Urbana, IL 37.9°F 37.7°F, 1933
Midway Airport (Chicago), IL 36.5°F 35.2°F, 1933
Galesburg, IL 36.9°F 33.9°F, 1990
Quincy, IL 38.4°F 37.5°F, 1990
Rochester, MN 28.1°F 25.8°F, 1990
Duluth, MN 23.8°F 21.9°F, 1944
International Falls, MN 18.8°F 17.5°F, 1944
Minneapolis, MN 28.6°F 26.6°F, 1944
Appleton, WI 30.2°F 26.9°F, 1990
Green Bay, WI 30.5°F 27.6°F, 1933
Marshfield, WI 26.5°F 24.5°F, 1990
Manitowoc, WI 31.0°F 30.2°F, 1933
Oshkosh, WI 32.4°F 28.1°F, 1933
Steven Point, WI 29.0°F 27.9°F, 1990
Sturgeon Bay, WI 29.9°F 26.9°F, 1932...1990
Wausau, WI 26.7°F 25.1°F, 2002
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 28.7°F 26.4°F, 1921
Mansfield, OH 37.1°F 34.5°F, 1990
Youngstown, OH 36.8°F 36.0°F, 1950
Jackson, KY 45.1°F 42.8°F, 1990
Paducah, KY 44.0°F 44.0°F, 1950
Kansas City, MO 42.7°F 42.4°F, 1933
Joplin, MO 45.6°F 42.9°F, 1990
Vichy, MO 41.8°F 37.6°F, 1964
West Plains, MO 43.9°F 42.4°F, 1990
South Bend, IN 35.8°F 34.0°F, 1990
Fort Wayne, IN 36.9°F 36.8°F, 1932
Goshen, IN 36.1°F 35.7°F, 1990
Defiance, OH 36.7°F 36.6°F, 1932
Lima, OH 38.5°F 38.1°F, 1932

In Minneapolis, MN, Wausau, WI, Rhinelander, WI, and Green Bay, WI, January 2006 provided no days with temperatures at or below zero.  In a normal winter, Green Bay should see 15 days with below zero temperatures, Rhinelander should see 26 days, Wausau should see 19 days, and Minneapolis averages 13 days with below zero temperatures.  In Duluth, MN, the month of January resulted in only a single day with a minimum temperature below zero.  This is a new record for the fewest days with a low temperature below zero, breaking the previous record of three days set back in 1889, 1891, and 1898.  

On the other side of the coin, Springfield, MO, and Joplin, MO set new records in January for the most number of days with maximum temperatures at or above 60°F.  In Springfield, MO, January produced 12 days with maximum temperatures at or above 60°F, breaking the previous record of 9 days.  Similarly, for Joplin, MO, there were 14 days with maximum temperatures at or above 60°F, breaking their previous record of 12 days set in 1911.  Other warm records of note include Chicago, IL, Urbana, IL, Indianapolis, IN, and Rochester, MN (among a host of other stations) that had above average temperatures every day in the month of January.  Since December 22, 41 days as of January 31, the average daily temperature in Milwuakee, WI,  has been above average, which is the longest string of days above average in meteorologial winter (December, January, and February), breaking the old record of 31 days set in December of 1931.  Madison, WI also had the past 41 days with above average temperatures, breaking the old record of 29 days set in December of 1889.  

In terms of snowfall, La Crosse, WI tied for it's least snowiest January on record with 1903 at 1.6".  Also, Rochester, MN established January 2006 as its least snowiest on record, after seeing only 0.8" of snow in January, breaking the previous least snowiest January of 1.7" set in 1961.  Several stations fell into the top ten least snowiest January's, including Green Bay, WI (3rd), Urbana, IL (5th), South Bend, IN (7th), and Fort Wayne, IN (10th) to name a few.

[For more details on weather and climate events during January 2006, please click on the individual weekly report links on the upper right.]


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