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January 2010
North Country Monthly Climate Summary

TEMPERATURE SUMMARY...

JANUARY ENDED UP MUCH WARMER THAN NORMAL, WITH MOST OF THE NORTH COUNTRY 4 TO 5 DEGREES ABOVE AVERAGE FOR THE MONTH. HOWEVER, IN SPITE OF THE MILD MONTHLY AVERAGES, THE REGION SAW A WIDE RANGE OF TEMPERATURES THROUGHOUT JANUARY. THE MONTH STARTED OUT ON THE WARM SIDE, WITH DAILY TEMPERATURES RUNNING SOME 5 TO 10 DEGREES ABOVE SEASONAL AVERAGE. A RETURN TO MORE WINTRY WEATHER CAME DURING THE SECOND WEEK, AS MANY LOCATIONS DROPPED TO BELOW ZERO FOR SEVERAL CONTINUOUS NIGHTS. THEN THE NORTH COUNTRY FOUND ITSELF IN A PROLONGED JANUARY THAW THROUGH THE MIDDLE AND LATTER HALF OF JANUARY. TEMPERATURES WERE MAINLY IN THE 30S AREAWIDE THE 14TH THROUGH THE 19TH, WITH A FEW DAYS OF MID AND UPPER 20S FOLLOWING. THE WARMEST STRETCH CAME THE 24TH THROUGH THE 27TH, ESPECIALLY ON THE 25TH, WHEN TEMPERATURES SOARED INTO THE 50S IN MANY LOCATIONS. COLD CONDITIONS MADE A COMEBACK TO FINISH OUT THE LAST FEW DAYS OF THE MONTH, WITH MANY SITES STRUGGLING TO REACH THE TEENS DURING THE DAY, AND DROPPING BELOW ZERO AT NIGHT.

TEMPERATURE STATISTICS ACROSS THE NORTH COUNTRY FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY...

  Burlington Montpelier Massena Saint Johnsbury
Avg. Temp 22.0 20.8 20.0 19.9
Departure +4.0 +4.4 +3.0 +5.1
Highest 54 ON 25TH 51 ON 25TH 53 ON 25TH 54 ON 25TH
Lowest -6 ON 10TH -8 ON 30TH, 31ST -11 ON 31ST -10 ON 30TH

BELOW ARE DAILY TEMPERATURE GRAPHS FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY FOR EACH BURLINGTON, MONTPELIER, MASSENA, AND SAINT JOHNSBURY.

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PRECIPITATION SUMMARY...

PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS WERE GENERALLY BELOW NORMAL ACROSS MUCH OF THE NORTH COUNTRY DURING JANUARY 2009. THE ONLY EXCEPTION WAS IN PORTIONS OF THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY, WHERE TOTAL MONTHLY PRECIPITATION WAS SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL. MUCH OF THE MONTH WAS DOMINATED BY HIGH PRESSURE, WHICH KEPT MOST MAJOR STORM SYSTEMS SHUNTED WELL TO THE SOUTH. AS A RESULT, LOCATIONS SUCH AS MONTPELIER, MASSENA, AND SAINT JOHNSBURY RAN 1 TO 2 INCHES DRIER THAN AVERAGE. IN SPITE OF THIS, HOWEVER, SOME HEAVY RAIN DID FALL OVER THE REGION TOWARD THE END OF THE MONTH, WHEN A POTENT STORM SYSTEM SWUNG EASTWARD FROM THE CENTRAL GREAT LAKES AND ACROSS NEW ENGLAND. WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE 50S, MUCH OF THE PRECIPITATION FROM THIS STORM FELL AS RAIN. BOTH BURLINGTON AND MONTPELIER SET DAILY RAINFALL RECORDS ON THE 25TH AS THE SYSTEM PASSED. SNOWFALL WAS ALSO BELOW NORMAL ACROSS MUCH OF THE NORTH COUNTRY AS HIGH PRESSURE REIGNED. THERE WAS ONE NOTABLE EXCEPTION, HOWEVER. BURLINGTON HAD THE SNOWIEST JANUARY ON RECORD, WITH 48.4 INCHES, WHICH BROKE THE PREVIOUS RECORD BY 6 INCHES. MOST OF THIS SNOW FELL IN JUST 48 HOURS. A STRONG LOW PRESSURE BACKED INTO THE GULF OF MAINE ON THE 2ND AND 3RD OF JANUARY, FUNNELING SNOW SOUTHWARD INTO THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY. THIS STORM DUMPED 33.1 INCHES OF SNOW AT THE BURLINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, MAKING IT THE HEAVIEST SNOWSTORM ON RECORD. ELSEWHERE, SNOWFALL AMOUNTS FROM THIS STORM RANGED GREATLY, AND DEPENDED HEAVILY ON LOCATION RELATIVE TO THE SPINE OF THE GREEN MOUNTAINS. THOSE AREAS SOUTH AND EAST SAW ONLY A FEW INCHES, WHILE NORTH AND WEST SAW A FOOT OR MORE.

PRECIPITATION STATISTICS ACROSS THE NORTH COUNTRY FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY...

  Burlington Montpelier Massena Saint Johnsbury
Monthly Total " 2.41 1.76 1.53 0.87
Departure +0.19 -1.00 -1.35 -1.69
Greatest 24hr 1.05 ON 24TH-25TH 1.10 ON 25TH 0.60 ON 25TH 0.67 ON 24TH-25TH
SNOW/SLEET
Monthly Total " 48.4 14.3
Greatest 24hr 18.9 ON 2ND 3.4 ON 3RD

BURLINGTON FORECAST AREA ACCUMULATED MONTHLY RAIN GAUGE PRECIPITATION (IN INCHES) FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY.

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BURLINGTON FORECAST AREA ACCUMULATED MONTHLY SNOWFALL (IN INCHES) FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY.

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MONTHLY WEATHER PATTERNS AND GLOBAL CLIMATE DRIVERS...

THE MAIN WEATHER FEATURE FOR JANUARY WAS AN ANOMALOUSLY STRONG 500MB RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE THAT SHIFTED FROM THE WEST COAST TO THE EASTERN UNITED STATES DURING THE COURSE OF THE MONTH. WITH THE RIDGE TO THE WEST AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MONTH, DEEP LOW PRESSURE WAS LOCATED OFF THE EAST COAST. WITH NEW ENGLAND SQUEEZED BETWEEN THESE TWO FEATURES, TEMPERATURES WERE GENERALLY NEAR NORMAL, THOUGH THEY SOMETIMES WAFFLED A BIT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. THE RIDGE SLID EAST THROUGH OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS, WHICH SHIFTED THE JET STREAM NORTH AND PLACED THE NORTHEASTERN U.S. IN SOUTHWEST FLOW ALOFT. AS A RESULT, TEMPERATURES ROSE TO ABOVE NORMAL AND STARTED A PROLONGED JANUARY THAW IN THE NORTH COUNTRY. IT ALSO KEPT MUCH OF THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH DRY. A DEEPENING TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE SANK SOUTH FROM CANADA TOWARD THE END OF JANUARY, WHICH HELPED TO ENHANCE THE WARM AIR STREAMING INTO THE AREA ON SOUTHWEST WINDS. AS A RESULT, TEMPERATURES SOARED INTO THE 50S AS A STORM SYSTEM MOVED DIRECTLY OVER THE NORTH COUNTRY, PRODUCING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF RAINFALL ON THE 25TH. THE MILD WEATHER WAS SHORT-LIVED, HOWEVER, AS THE AFOREMENTIONED TROUGH SETTLED OVER NEW ENGLAND, AND TEMPERATURES PLUMMETED TO WELL BELOW SEASONAL NORMAL.

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THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER IS FORECASTING TEMPERATURES TO BE ABOUT NORMAL FOR FEBRUARY 2010. PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS SHOULD ALSO BE CLOSE TO NORMAL.

EL NINO IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INTO SPRING 2010, AND MAYBE LONGER. ALTHOUGH SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES COOLED JUST A BIT IN LATE JANUARY, THEY ARE STILL 1.2 DEGREES CELSIUS ABOVE NORMAL. EL NINO IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE TO SLOWLY WEAKEN OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. HOWEVER, IMPACTS FROM EL NINO WILL CONTINUE TO BE FELT ACROSS MUCH OF THE UNITED STATES. THESE INCLUDE WETTER-THAN-NORMAL CONDITIONS IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE COUNTRY, WHILE THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND OHIO RIVER VALLEY ARE EXPECTED TO BE DRIER THAN NORMAL. IN THE NORTHERN U.S., BELOW-NORMAL SNOWFALL AND ABOVE-AVERAGE TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED. SOUTH-CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN REGIONS WILL BE COOLER THAN NORMAL. IN NEW ENGLAND, CONDITIONS SHOULD BE CLOSE TO NORMAL, BOTH TEMPERATURES AND PRECIPITATION.

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER FEBRUARY 2010 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK...

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CLIMATE PREDICITION CENTER JANUARY 2010 TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

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Figure 1: Burlington Monthly Temperature Trend
Figure 2: Montpelier Monthly Temperature Trend
Figure 3: Massena Monthly Temperature Trend
Figure 4: Saint Johnsbury Temperature Trend
Figure 5: Monthly Precipitation Map
Figure 6: Monthly Snowfall Map
Figure 7: 500MB Geopotential Height Anomalies
Figure 8: Climate Prediction Center Precipitation Outlook
Figure 9: Climate Prediction Center Temperature Outlook