Year off to warm, dry start

January saw little in the way of precipitation, as well as little in the way of cold.


WALLA WALLA -- The New Year started warm and not-so-wet.

While January didn't break any temperature records, highs were well above normal throughout January, according to the National Weather Service. Overall, the daytime highs were 7.5 degrees above average with the top mark being 63 degrees Jan. 12. That happened during a warm spell that brought 11 straight days of 50-degree-or-warmer weather in the middle of the month.

On the flip side, the coldest night was Jan. 7 when the mercury dropped to 26 degrees. It was one of only nine nights during the month where the temperature went below freezing and a total of only two days where the highs stayed below 32 degrees, the weather service reported. Overall lows were 7.2 degrees above normal.

Although January had its share of rainstorms the total measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport came up below normal with 1.94 inches, a mark .31 inches below average. There were 16 days with measurable precipitation, defined as more than .01 inch, with the heaviest rainfall of .41 inches coming Jan. 4.

Total precipitation for the water year, which begins in October and runs through September, is now 7.23 inches, a mark 2.15 inches below normal.

The first day of the New Year was also the windiest day of the month with a gust of 54 mph measured at the airport. One other day, Jan. 12, exceeded 50 mph with a 52 mph gust.

As with the January forecast from the national Climate Prediction Center, the outlook for this month again calls for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. The normal highs for Walla Walla in February are 46 degrees and the normal lows are about 33 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 1.97 inches.

Andy Porter can be reached at or 526-8318. Check out his blog at


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