Crozet Weather Almanac: Out Like a Lamb (January 2012)

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by Heidi Sonen & Roscoe Shaw

January went out like a lamb. Isn’t that March that is supposed to go out like a lamb? It is hard to describe January any other way, though. We finished with eight straight warm days and a high of 70 on the last day of the month.

Overall, the month was much warmer than usual but not record- setting. The lack of snow makes some people happy, but three days of ice in a row couldn’t please anyone. The ice from January 20-22 was particularly dismal, with sub-freezing drizzle and fog that wouldn’t quit.

Snowfall for this year has totaled just one inch. I know what you are thinking: “We haven’t had an inch of snow.” But actually, some kind of snow or ice has coated the ground ten times this winter and if you add it all up, it amounts to one measly inch.

In our 100-year database, we’ve made it to the end of January with an inch or less a dozen times, so it’s actually not that rare. Back in 1914, we were skunked to this point but finished with 31 inches by the end of March, so it can turn around. However, most lean years stayed mild and mostly snowless. In 2009, we started this way and finished with seven inches for the year.

Spring warming usually is first noticed in the second half of February. The average high temperature at the start of the month is a wintry 45, but that warms quickly in late February to 52 by the last day. A month from now, we will be seeing the first flowers poke out and waiting for the explosion of beautiful spring that March brings.