by Robert K. Peters, Ph.D. - National Weather Service Cooperating Observer
January 2006 goes down in the record book as the fifth warmest January, replacing 1990 for that honor. The month also saw some drought relief at its end, with more than four inches of rain falling between the 22nd and 28th. Three daily high temperature and two daily rainfall records were also set during the month. Otherwise, the extreme drought, which began in March 2005, continued. Compared with January 2005, the month was 3.8 deg. Warmer, and 1.86 inches wetter. The month's average temperature was 55.2 deg., 0.9 deg. Warmer than January 1990 the previous fifth warmest January. January 1923 still holds the record for the warmest January with 57.0 deg. The thirty-day outlook for January 2006 had called for near normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
The week January 1-7 saw temperatures about 12 degrees warmer than normal and no rainfall. This continued a very warm pattern which commenced on Christmas Day. The air mass was extremely dry during most of the week, resulting in wild fire outbreaks on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th. These were fanned by strong winds either side of the weak cold fronts which crossed on the mornings of the 2nd and 5th. Record high temperatures were established on the 1st and 3rd, as upper atmospheric high pressure combined with the dry air mass.
The week's average temperature was 58.7 deg., which was 0.9 deg. warmer than the previous week. Compared withthe same week in 2005, the week was 4.9 degrees warmer and 1.18 inches drier. Record high temperatures were set during the 2005 week, as well.
The week January 8-14 saw temperatures about 9 degrees warmer than normal, and rainfall about 75 percent of normal. The very warm pattern began weakening on the 10th with the first of the week's two cold fronts. The second crossed on the 13th. With each front, there was sufficient available moisture to permit rainfall over the eastern two-thirds of the region. Another record high maximum temperature was set on the 8th. This combined with very low relative humidities and a strong southwest wind to produce more wild fires. There was at least a moderate wild fire risk each day of the week. The week's average temperature was 55.9 degrees, which was 2.8 degrees cooler than the previous week. Precipitation was 0.52 inch. Compared with the same week in 2005, the week was 0.9 degree cooler, and 0.08 inch drier.
The week January 15-21 saw temperatures about 8 degrees warmer than normal, and rainfall less than 10 percent of normal. The very warm and dry pattern continued. Cold fronts crossed on the 16th and 20th, with the first front generating some light rainfall. Temperatures recoevered quickly after the front of the 16th. Temperatures were above normal every day of the week except one. The week's average temperature was 55.1 deg., and rainfall was 0.04 inch. The week was 0.8 deg. cooler than the previous week. Compared with the same week in 2005, the week was 7.1 deg. warmer. There was no precipitation during the week in 2005.
The week January 22-28 saw temperatures about 4 degrees warmer than normal, and rainfall more than 500 percent of normal. Two very wet storms crossed--one on the 22nd and another on the 28th. Both of these yielded record single-day rainfall totals. Each storm had ample moisture throughout the vertical column. A weak storm crossing on the 26th brought some light rain. A dry air mass on the 24th and 25th permitted mild afternoon temperatures following cool early-morning readings. The week's average temperature was 51.6 deg., which was 3.5 deg. cooler than the previous week. Rainfall was 4.15 inches. Compared with the same week in 2005, the week was 4.4 deg. warmer, and 3.70 inches wetter.
The final three days of the month were mild and dry. Very dry air followed the departing storm on the 29th, with a weak cold front on the morning of the 30th. Warm temperatures on the afternoon of the 29th were replaced by slightly cooler readings for the next two days.
The reporting period for temperatures and phenomenon on each day is for the twenty-four hours ending at midnight hours GMT--6 p.m. CST and 7 p.m. CDT. The reporting period for precipitation is for the twenty-four hours ending at noon GMT--6 a.m. CST and 7 a.m. CDT. All times are given using the twenty-four hour clock, and are expressed in Greenwich Mean Time.
Observations are from NWS Station 41/9207/4 in Tyler, Texas. The term "normal" refers to averages from the standard climatic period 1971-2000.
MX MN OBS PCPN REMARKS
January 2006, RECORDS AND SUMMARY: