by Robert K. Peters, Ph.D. - National Weather Service Cooperating Observer
The Month of January 2018 was colder and drier than normal. The thirty-day outlook for January 2018, issued on December 21, 2017, had called for above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. When revised on December 31,2017, it called for below normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.
January began very cold, continuing a pattern which commenced on December 23. There was a 66-hour period of sub-freezing temperatures between 4 p.m. on December 31 and 10 a.m. on January 3. During the first five days of the month, temperatures averaged between 15 and 23 degrees below normal, with a record low maximum temperature set on January 2. A series of Arctic cold fronts came into the region, propelled by meridional upper air high pressure over the Western United States, and upper air low pressure over the Eastern states. The atmosphere was very dry, and there was very little to no precipitation with any of the fronts.
Temperatures rose to near to slightly above normal levels beginning on the 6th. An upper air disturbance crossed on the 7th, bringing widespread rain and a few thunderstorms to the region. Rainfall amounts averaged around three/fourths of an inch, with 1.53 inches in Texarkana the heaviest reported. A weak cold front on the 8th lowered temperatures only slightly, with weak upper air high pressure keeping readings near seasonal normals through the 11th.
Another Arctic air mass entered the region on the afternoon of the 11th, again lowering temperatures well below normal. Rain and thunderstorms accompanied the front, with amounts running from around one-tenth inch over the western counties to an inch or more within 75 miles of the Louisiana border. The heaviest rain was 2.02 inches at Kilgore.
Temperatures warmed to near normal on the 15th before the arrival of another Arctic front. It was accompanied by widespread wintry precipitation, with between one and three inches of snow throughout the central and southern counties. Liquid yields were around one-fourth inch, with Chandler receiving the highest at 0.41 inch. The heaviest snowfall was 3.4 inches at Hughes Springs.
The precipitation began as rain on the evening of the 15th, changed for a few hours to a freezing rain/sleet mix, and then to all snow. The snow ended from the west on the morning of the 16th. There was considerable snow cover and ice glaze on travel surfaces, with most schools closed on the 16th, and some on the 17th before complete melting occurred.
Temperatures warmed rapidly from the afternoon of the 18th through the 21st. With readings about 20 degrees above normal on the latter date. That evening, a cold front combined with an upper air disturbance to produce widespread showers and some severe thunderstorms. A cluster of strong thunderstorms moved northeastward from Navarro County into Southwest Arkansas north of Texarkana on the evening of the 21st. Two tornadoes caused minor damage northwest of Texarkana. A severe thunderstorm caused wind damage to a house and an apartment building in Winnsboro.
Rainfall amounts ranged from one-tenth of an inch to more than two inches, with the heavier amounts to the west and east of Tyler. Arthur City, near Red River, received the heaviest rainfall at 2.46 inches. The Pacific cold front lowered temperatures to slightly below seasonal normal levels between the 22nd and 25th. Temperatures warmed above normal on the 26th and 27th ahead of a Pacific cold front. Light showers occurred on the 27th ahead of the front, with amounts mostly under one-fourth inch over the central counties. A few locations along Red River received more than one-half inch, and around an inch fell over the southern counties. Rockland received the largest amount with 1.36 inches.
Torrential rains in excess of five inches fell over Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. The front lowered temperatures back to normal levels on the 30th, before readings warmed again to end the month. Compared with January 2017, the month was 9.7 deg. Colder, and 5.15 inches drier.
The reporting period for temperatures, precipitation, 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. All times are given using the twenty-four hour clock, and are expressed in Greenwich Mean Time. Effective April 1, 2012, the term "day" in the Records and Summary section refers to the clock day beginning at 0000 GMT, and ending at 2359 GMT. Observations are from NWS Station 41/9207/4 in Tyler, Texas. The term "normal" refers to averages from the standard climatic period 1981-2010.
MX MN OBS PCPN REMARKS
January 2018, RECORDS AND SUMMARY: