Does A Mild January Mean A Warm February?

6:04 PM, Feb 1, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- January is typically the coldest month of the year in the Triad, but most of January was anything but cold.

The average temperature at the Piedmont Triad International Airport this past January was 42.8 degrees.  This was 3.9 degrees above the average temperature for January. The average high temperature was 53.2 degrees and the average low was 32.3 degrees.

In all there were ten days that were 60 degrees or warmer this January.  January 2011 only had one day with temperatures 60 degrees or warmer.

The warmest temperature in the Triad in January was 68 degrees on the 7th and the coldest temperature was 17 degrees on the 4th.

Even though January was unseasonably warm in the Triad it still didn't make it into the top five warmest January's on record.


*Average Monthly Temperature*

1) 1950 (49.7 degrees)

2) 1949 (47.7 degrees)

3) 1932 (47.6 degrees)

4) 2006 (46.5 degrees)

5) 1937 (46.0 degrees)

--2012 (42.8 degrees)--

A look ahead into February suggests that a trough in the eastern half of the United States will provide slightly cooler than normal temperatures for the next six to ten days.  The overall pattern that was in place for much of January looks to continue for February.

One contributing factor to the abnormally warm temperatures in the southeast in January was the presence of La Nina. La Nina is expected to continue through February though it is currently forecast to weaken slightly.

La Nina is a the cooling of the water in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is a naturally occurring climate phenomenon and results from interactions between the ocean surface and the atmosphere.

Another global weather pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation is expected to continue to provide unseasonably warm temperatures to the eastern half of the United States. The NAO is a naturally occurring large scale weather pattern that influences the weather over the central North Atlantic, the eastern United States and western Europe.

The NAO transitions between a positive and negative phase. It is during the positive phase when temperatures over the eastern United States can expect to be unseasonably warm. The NAO has been positive for most of the winter, resulting in the abnormally mild winter in much of the U.S. 

The NAO is expected to to briefly become negative for the first couple weeks of February and then return to its positive phase for a majority of the month.  This will likely result in relatively cooler temperatures in the first 6-10 days of February with a return to more mild temperatures for the rest of the month.

The normal high temperature on the first day of February in the Triad is 49.7 degrees. By the last day of February the normal high temperature will increase to 56 degrees.

WFMY News 2

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