Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Heat Records Demolish Cold Records for 13th Consecutive Month;
January Ends With Incredible Ratio of [Update] 29 to 1 in Contiguous U.S.

Feb. 1, AM Update: The National Climatic Data Center reports an additional 123 new high temperature records on January 31 (vs. 0 cold records). This brings the ratio for the month to nearly 22 to 1 and the ratio for the lower 48 states to 29 to 1. The chart has been updated.

Midnight Update: The record temperatures on January 30 extended into the Midwest, where Omaha tied its all-time January temperature record and several long-term daily records were smashed by as much as 10°. The National Weather Service reports:
New temperature records were set today, January 30th, 2012 across eastern Nebraska. Omaha's new record is 69 degrees, which breaks the previous record of 60 set in 1974. This also ties the all time high in January, which was reached January 25, 1944. In Lincoln, the new record high is 70, breaking the previous record of 60 set in 1931. And in Norfolk, the new record high is 67, breaking the previous record of 57 set in 1992.
Original post:
A very mild January 2012 is ending with more new high temperature records being set in the Mid Atlantic region and the Northeast. Washington Dulles has at least tied broken the daily record for January 31 with 66° (old record 65° in 1993). By mid afternoon, the 54° at Bridgeport CT exceeded the old record of 53° set in 1974. At Islip NY, where the climate history extends back only to 1986, the temperature of 52° before noon broke the old record of 51° set in 1988. The 63° at Georgetown DE exceeded by 3° the record of 60° in 1974.

The 63° at Atlantic City NJ tied the record from 1988 in a climate history which began back in 1874.

This is now the 13th consecutive month that new high temperature records have exceeded low temperature records in the U.S., since cold records eked out a ratio of 1.5 to 1 vs. heat records in December 2010. The preliminary reports from the National Climatic Data Center through January 30 show heat records crushing cold records by a ratio of 20.7 to 1, nearly as high as the incredible 22.2 to 1 last August. Without the 25% of total January cold records set in Alaska, the ratio for the contiguous 48 states is 27.5 to 1. With meteorological winter now two-thirds over, the ratio for the season as a whole is at 6.2 to 1.

Image (click to enlarge):
- Monthly ratio of daily high temperature to low temperature records set in the U.S. for December 2010 through January 30, 2012, seasonal ratio for summer and fall 2011, winter 2011-2012 to date, and annual ratio for 2011 and 2010
CapitalClimate chart from NOAA/NCDC data, background image © Kevin Ambrose (www.weatherbook.com). Includes historical daily observations archived in NCDC's Cooperative Summary of the Day data set and preliminary reports from Cooperative Observers and First Order National Weather Service stations. All stations have a Period of Record of at least 30 years.

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