What a month! From record-breaking amounts of snow to extreme cold and dangerous wind chills, this will certainly be a January to remember.
The first month of 2014 started out on a snowy note, with over 7” of snow falling between New Year’s Day and the day following. Just a few days after the holiday storm, a powerful system pushing through the Midwest brought a whopping 10-14” of snow to much of the area, sometimes falling at rates of 1-2” per hour. The thick blanket of snowfall was followed by an arctic invasion that dropped temperatures to as low as 15 below zero and wind chills down to -43°. The snow & brutal cold effectively shut Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas down for the beginning of the first full week of January, with travel conditions really not improving much until the tail end of that week.
The brutal cold was followed by warmer conditions that stretched from the 10th to the 14th with temperatures in the low to mid-40s and over half an inch of rain that helped melt away the snow that had piled up.
The middle of the month featured seasonable weather with temperatures hovering a few degrees either side of freezing and small storms bringing a few 1-3” rounds of snowfall. Temperatures then dropped into the teens and 20s by the 21st with overnight lows 3 to 8° below zero. This cold spell was followed by a brief warm-up during the last weekend of the month, with another 2-5” of snow falling. A powerful storm pushed through by the morning of the 27th, unleashing another burst of cold air. Temperatures dropped as low as -16° with wind chills down to -35°. The final days of the month would then gradually warm back to near freezing.
As far as stats are concerned, Fort Wayne had the snowiest January since records began in 1897, with 29.7″ of snow falling, beating the old record set back in 1982. This figure, combined with the snow we saw in December, has us standing as the sixth snowiest winter, with close to 40 inches of snow falling so far. Keep in mind we typically see around 32 inches for an entire winter! By this point in time last year, Fort Wayne had only seen about 11 inches of snow.
It’s also been a frigid month. We are currently tied for 9th coldest January ever with an average monthly temperature at 16.6 degrees – that’s 8.5 degrees below normal. We also currently rank as the 9th coldest winter overall – running 5 degrees below average for the entire season. This month also featured 10 days of temperatures at or below 0. The normal number of days we’re at or below zero for the entire season is 6.5. Our highest temperature for the month was 45°. Our lowest reading was a bone-chilling -16°. In total, we’ve had 20 days with high temperatures at or below freezing in January.
It’s also been a windy month! At least 23 days this month had wind speeds of 20 mph or greater, with the highest gust of 48 mph occurring just last Sunday – causing all of the blowing snow issues. These winds, combined with the bitter cold, also made for dangerous wind chills, dropping as low as -43 earlier in the month.
So, congratulations! You survived one of the harshest Januaries Fort Wayne has seen in decades! Remember, only 48 days until spring!