Weather Blog

Warm January: Good and not so good

Warm January: Good and not so good
YouNews contributor Andy sent in this photo from Snohomish over the weekend.

I'll be honest. I have really, really enjoyed the weather this month. The entire morning show team takes a "coffee walk" at 7:30 a.m., and I think I've worn a jacket maybe five times since Christmas.

My 2-year-old son has kicked a soccer ball more outside than inside, and my power bill (I hope) will be a shadow of what it was in December.

But not everybody's thrilled with our warm El Nino winter, and here's the reason why: Winter is absolutely not over yet.

Take a look around your neighborhood and you'll notice that plants and trees are a bit confused. They don't have calendars handy, so they think it's March, not January.

The plants are on to something. Our average temperature in March is 46.2 degrees. So far this January, our average temperature is 47.1 degrees.

Part of this is because we warm up slowly in early spring, but it is amazing that this January has been warmer than a typical Western Washington March. Wow!

But there's potentially a big downside to this: Plants don't usually bloom until spring because the risk of a freeze then is much lower. That's not the case in late January. One hard freeze and we may lose a significant part of our local crops and produce.

Case in point: 2006. The record warm January we're about to break happened just four years ago. What happened after that? Not what you would expect.

Turns out that we had four straight days in the 20s in February 2006 and, just a few weeks later, it snowed in March! Good for cold-weather lovers, but really bad for farmers.

Long-range forecast models keep the mild weather around through the first week of February, but please don't be fooled -w- inter still has a good chance of coming back before spring really arrives.