January Thaw Coming Soon

Since Christmas, most days have been quite cold for the Augusta area, but despite snowflakes falling on Wednesday, all of that is about to change.

Let’s review what’s happened since December 25, 2017:

  • Temperatures have been below average most days.
  • The average temperature for Augusta has been 39.9°, which is 5.2° below normal.*
  • It’s the 12th coldest such period since 1942 when records began at Augusta Regional Airport.*
  • Only 0.88″ of precipitation has fallen at Augusta Regional Airport, the 7th driest such period since 1942.*

[Related: Augusta in the Deep Freeze Since Christmas]

This period has been colder than the same period during the 1995-96 winter, which brought three accumulating snow events to Augusta and was also a La Niña year.

[Related: Augusta Sets Record for Cold Streak]

Change is Already Underway

 

Oftentimes when the CSRA see snow, it isn’t long before a big warming trend, and Wednesday’s snow event is no exception. Temperatures will jump to above normal levels by Saturday with high temperatures in the 60s and low temperatures above freezing.

Computer models indicate more “ridging” over the eastern U.S. and less “troughiness” for the remainder of the month. Ridges of high pressure aloft usually indicate warmer weather, while troughs tend to bring cooler weather. Large scale troughs have been responsible for the cold weather we’ve seen so far this winter.

The outlook for the month of February from the Climate Prediction Center also calls for a tendency toward above average temperatures for Georgia and South Carolina, as well as much of the South and East Coast. That doesn’t mean that more cold air isn’t in store, but it means if it does come, it probably won’t stick around as long.

Notice that precipitation during February may be below average—typical for a La Niña winter, but not the best news, considering how dry it’s been lately.

Could Wednesday’s snow (though it didn’t really stick in most places), be our last opportunity for snow this winter? Possibly, but I’m not giving up hope just yet. After all, on average, February brings 1″ of snow to Augusta, the snowiest month of the year! In the meantime, enjoy the lower utility bills that will be on the way!

[Related: When is the Coldest Time of the Year?]

*Statistics provided by Southeast Regional Climate Center.

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