Storm one of month's few signs of winter

January's precipitation lagged behind normal.

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WALLA WALLA -- Well, apart from the ice storm, January was actually sort of a warm month.

According to the National Weather Service, daytime temperatures averaged just above 45 degrees, which was about 4 degrees above normal. On the warmest day, Jan. 4, the high was a spring-like 69 degrees.

But that didn't last long. By mid-month winter had returned with below-freezing temps. The low point was Jan. 19 when the mercury dropped to 18 degrees on the heels of the aforementioned ice storm.

That event capped a two-day spell of true winter weather that started Jan. 18 with a snowfall of 4.7 inches, according to weather service records. Snowfall during the month totaled 6.7 inches with the greatest depth on the ground, 5 inches, reported Jan. 20.

The storm also produced the highest wind gust for the month, 49 mph, on Jan. 17 as the weather front swept into the state.

The snow and ice were the high points for precipitation during January. Overall the month had only had 11 days of measurable precipitation, defined as at least .01 inch of rain or snow. The heaviest rainfall came on Jan. 10 when .37 inches fell. Total precipitation for the month was 2.34 inches, a mark 0.19 inches below normal.

That amount left the total for the water year, which runs from October through September, at 5.93 inches, which is 3.62 inches below normal.

According to the federal Climate Prediction Center, the outlook for this month calls for near normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. Normal highs for Walla Walla during February are just under 46 degrees and normal lows are about 32 degrees.

Average precipitation, based on a 30-year average, is 1.76 inches.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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