Winter? Where? Don't look at January

There was a smattering of cold and snow, but the month was warmer and drier than normal.

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WALLA WALLA -- As winter months go, January was a bit of a bust.

Although there was cold, rain and a bit of snow, the month also delivered more than a few warmer-than-normal days. Overall, temperatures averaged three degrees above normal, according to the National Weather Service. The high mark for the month was 62 degrees on Jan. 16, followed by the warmest night where the low was an unseasonable 53 degrees.

But before the warm came the cold, specifically a string of below-freezing days and nights right after New Year's Day that delivered the lowest low of 10 degrees on Jan. 1, 3 and 4, records show. Overall there were six days in which the high temperature stayed below freezing.

Normal precipitation wasn't in the picture either, with a total of 1.38 inches falling during the month, an amount .87 inches below normal. Snowfall totaled 0.7 inches, which all fell on Jan. 9, according to the weather service. The greatest accumulated snow depth was two inches as measured New Year's Day.

Total precipitation for the water year, which runs from October through September, is at 8.86 inches, which is .70 inches below normal. The highest wind gust was 39 mph on Jan. 16 as measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

Despite the dry weather that started the month, the outlook for February calls for above-normal precipitation and below-normal temperatures. Normal precipitation based on a 30-year average is 1.97 inches, while normal highs are about 47 degrees and normal lows about 32 degrees.

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