Wednesday, February 1, 2017

8th Least Snowiest January on Record in Rockford

The numbers are in and this past January will officially go down in the record books as the 8th least snowiest January on record in Rockford.  A whooping 0.7 inches of snow was recorded causing us to fall 9.5 inches shy of our monthly average.

We did, however, have a surplus of rainfall for the month with a little over two inches falling.  This was a little over three quarters of an inch above the monthly precipitation average. 
The drastic change from a very snowy December to an unseasonably warm January has to do with the jet stream.  The placement of the jet stream over the lower 48 did not allow much opportunity for cold air to be displaced southward.  Yes, there were some cold days but the warm days out-numbered the cold days by a significant amount.

Through most of the month of January the jet stream was in what meteorologists refer to as 'zonal flow'.  This means the jet stream runs from west to east.  With this type of placement milder air from the Pacific is pulled in over the United States, rather than the cold air from Canada and the Arctic.  Every so often the jet stream positioned itself to where cold air was pulled southward, but that wasn't too often.  The zonal flow also led to a very active pattern for the west coast with flooding rainfall and heavy snowfall in higher elevations.

A quick glance into the month of February and there are some signs suggesting that the pattern may continue to support a warmer than normal month.  Keep in mind that there will likely be colder days throughout the month, but overall there is a slightly higher probability that the month could come in above average.

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