Report confirms brutal January

By Tom Joyce -

If January seemed unusually cold, that’s because it truly was, as verified by a new report showing temperatures in Mount Airy averaged under the freezing mark for the entire month.

The 31.6-degree average for January 2018 put it in a tie for 11th-coldest month on record in Mount Airy, where weather statistics have been kept since 1924.

Last month saw two low-temperature records broken and another tied, according to a statistical report from the city’s F.G. Doggett Water Plant. It is the city’s official weather-monitoring station.

A low of 1 degree above zero, logged for both Jan. 7 and 8, broke the previous record for those dates of 3 degrees set on Jan. 7-8, 2014.

A record low of 6 degrees for Jan. 3, established in 1979, was matched last month.

January’s average temperature of 31.6 degrees — just under the 32-degree freezing mark — is nearly seven degrees colder than the all-time local average for the first month of the year, 38.3.

On the other end of the scale was the monthly high of 66 degrees, logged on Jan. 22.

Other cold times

January 2018 has joined the dubious annals of cold-weather extremes in Mount Airy, where a total of 13 months of below-freezing average temperatures have occurred over the years — which Assistant Water Treatment Supervisor Andy Utt called “kind of surprising.”

Taking honors as the coldest month on record since 1924 is January 1977, when the mercury averaged 25.7 degrees.

The average high temperature for that month was 35.1 degrees and the average low was 16.4 degrees, according to research by Utt.

It also shows that the mercury reached 50 degrees only one day that month (Jan. 4), with minus-4 degrees the lowest temp recorded.

Other months on the “cold list” include:

• January 1940, when temperatures averaged 28.5 degrees;

• December 2000, 28.9;

• January 2014, 29.3;

• January 1978, 29.9;

• February 2015, 30.9;

• December 1935, 31.1;

• December 1963, 31.5;

• January 1982, 31.3;

• January 1994, 31.4;

• January 1970, 31.6;

• December 1989, 31.7.

Precipitation down

Last month was as dry as it was cold, with the monthly report showing that precipitation totaled only 1.96 inches, 42.4 percent below the local January average of 3.40 inches.

This included the net effect of two measurable snowfalls occurring on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 of 0.8 inches and 4.2 inches, respectively.

In all, measurable precipitation occurred on nine of January’s 31 days, with the maximum rainfall for a single day, 0.47 inches, logged on Jan. 23.

Frost was noted on nine days last month and fog on four.

By Tom Joyce

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.