The January Record

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Will this month be the warmest January on record at Seattle Tacoma Airport? It is going to be a nail-biter but it appears we will make it.

A recap. The warmest January month until now was January 2006, when the average monthly temperature was 46.55 F. Where are we right now? Averaging all the days this month, including today, gives 47.1. Still above.

We have five days left.

Using the current NWS forecasts, the mean temperature of those days will be 45.9F.
Properly averaging this with the rest of the month gives a monthly-mean temperature of 46.9F. We make it with .35F to spare! Ok, I would like more of a margin, but it looks like the record will fall.

The east side is really cooking too! The monthly average temperature for Spokane so far is 35.2F which is 8.3F above their normal January temperature (26.9F). We are not going to beat 1953 (37.2F), but this January will come in second or third. A very respectable showing. What is missing in eastern Washington? The normal cloudy cold pool.

But what will really go down in the record books is the broad area of very, very low pressure over the western U.S. this month. Here is an amazing figure provided to me by Nate Mantua of the UW Climate Impact Group. It shows the pressure anomaly, the difference between the actual and climatological pressures, for January 15 through 23. An extraordinary anomaly reaching 21 mb (this is a large number for such things) over a huge area. I have never seen anything like it and probably won't see again for decades. There is reason that half the western U.S. set their ALL TIME low pressure records...records than have stood for 50-100+ years at these locations.

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