We’ve flirted with the possibility of snow this week but missed out for the most part. But all of us in the Central Savannah River Area have experienced very cold weather since Christmas Day. In fact, a low temperature of 16° was recorded in Augusta on Jan. 2! Some folks have experienced burst pipes and dead car batteries.
Temperatures in Augusta have been below average each day starting Dec. 25. Records at Augusta Regional Airport—Augusta’s official weather observation station—go back to December 1942. Looking at those records, housed at the Southeast Regional Climate Center, we find that overall temperatures have averaged 6.7° colder than average from Dec. 25 through Jan. 2. That makes it the 5th coldest such period since 1942. By contrast, the same dates a year ago brought temperatures that were 10.5° warmer than average!
Since Christmas Day 2017, Augusta’s average daily high temperature has been 48.2°, a whopping 9.3° below average, while the average daily low temperature was 28.8°, which was 4.1° below average.
Meanwhile, very little precipitation fell during the same period. Only 0.13″ of rain was recorded, almost an inch below average.
What is the reason most of the Augusta-Aiken metropolitan area missed out on the snow on Wednesday? It’s just been too cold and dry! The polar airmass that has invaded much of the U.S. recently has been so expansive and so strong that it has really limited the ability for any moisture to flow out of the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean into the CSRA. So, there wasn’t enough moisture in the air closer to the surface to allow the snow to make it to the ground. Radar showed bands of snow over the area, but most of the flakes evaporated on their way down in the very dry air. But the winter is young, so perhaps there may be another opportunity for snow before spring arrives!