January 2014 will certainly go down in the annals of local weather history as one of the coldest periods ever, as evidenced by a low-temperature record being broken Thursday for the third time this month.
Although the overnight low Wednesday night was forecast to be “only” 9 degrees above zero, the arctic weather that has had its way with Surry County recently had other ideas. The actual low turned out to be 1 degree below zero, according to a spokesman for F.G. Doggett Water Plant — the city’s official weather-monitoring station.
“It’s cold out here on this creek bank,” Water Plant Supervisor Marty Semones joked Thursday morning of the facility’s location in the Laurel Bluff section.
The reading of 1 degree below zero will stand as the local record for the Jan. 30 date, since it was noted after 7 a.m. Thursday, Semones indicated. The official weather day at the water plant begins at that time and runs until 7 a.m. the next day.
Semones added that the previous record for Jan. 30 was 2 degrees above zero, set in 1966. Weather statistics have been kept in Mount Airy since 1924.
This month has been marked by extremely cold nights that earlier shattered low-temperature records for Jan. 7 and 8, when the mercury plunged to 3 degrees both days. Those readings eclipsed the previous record for Jan. 7 of 9 degrees in 1954 and the old mark for Jan. 8 of 4 degrees, set in 1970, according to water plant figures.
The all-time record low locally is 10 degrees below zero, logged at the water plant on Jan. 21, 1985.
Break On Way
The end of January will usher in more than a new month, with warmer conditions on the way as well.
Low temperatures overnight Thursday here were predicted to be “not as cool” at 11 to 17 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
Highs in the upper 40s are expected today, with tonight’s low to be in the upper 20s.
Saturday and Sunday will be much warmer, with highs in the mid-50s predicted both days.
The milder temperatures will continue into next week.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.