GAITHERSBURG 2 WNW MARYLAND – JANUARY 2015 WEATHER STATION HIGHLIGHTS by Kevin Shaw, NJWO contributing member

January 2015 featured above normal precipitation, about normal snowfall, and slightly
below normal temperatures in my backyard heart of the Bennington community of
northwestern Gaithersburg. As usual the average maximum temperature (38.1°, -2.7°)
was the reason for the average mean temperature being below normal (30.9°, -1.0°)
with the average minimum temperature being a bit above normal (23.7°, +0.7°).

Temperatures all month were mostly around normal with a few really cold days and one
really warm day, when on January 4 I hit 59.1° for our monthly high temperature. The
reading failed to set a daily record. In fact, the only daily record set this month was on
our coldest day on the 8th a few short days later, when I had a 22.6° max temperature
(rounded for my record purposes to 23°) which set a daily low maximum temperature
for the date, surpassing the old record for the date of 27° set back in 1988. Precipitation
was spread out fairly evenly through the month, with the most significant rainfalls occurring
on the 3rd-4th (1.43″), the 12th (0.76″), and the 23rd-24th (1.10″). Those three events
totalled 3.29″ or about 81% of the total 4.05″ for the month. Snow fell on 9 days of the
month, spread out in minor amounts not exceeding 3.1″ in any event (the 6th and 26th-27th).
Once again this normally coldest month of the year had no zero or below minimum temperatures,
a trend that has been predominating since the turn of the century (2000).

The month’s total precipitation amount of 4.05″ ranked as the 9th wettest of 36 in my
period of record (POR). 11 days of measurable precipitation during the month was
about normal for the total amount of days (11.5) through my 36 years of record. The
mean temperature of 30.9° was the 14th coldest in my 36 year POR.

The monthly barometric pressure extremes of 30.72″ on the 11th and 29.50″ on the
24th both occurred during wet patterns, just like last month. The month’s highest peak
wind gust of 28 MPH from the WNW occurred on the 30th during a cold frontal passage.

The

distribution of 10 sunny, 11 partly cloudy and 10 cloudy days corresponded pretty
well with our wetter than normal precipitation amount of 4.05″ (+1.00″).

There was 1057 heating degree days and 0 cooling degree days. There were 6 days with
fog, 2 days of glaze, 2 days with sleet, and 9 days of trace or greater amounts of snow
during the month.

My maximum temperature frequencies included 1 day at 50° or above, 12 days from
40°- 49°, 14 days from 30°- 39° and 4 days between 20°- 29°. On the minimum
temperature frequency side of things, there was 1 day below 10°, 6 days between
10°-19°, 18 days between 20°-29°, and 6 days between 30°-39°. 27 days of freezing
minimum temperatures (32° or below) is just a bit above the long-term normal amount
average of 26.2 days.

The diurnal range average was below normal (14.4° vs the normal 17.8°). The maximum
daily range of 27.8° occurred on the 11th whereas the lowest daily temperature range
of 4.0° occurred on the very next day on the 12th. There were 6 days total with diurnal
ranges lower than 10° while, conversely, only 4 days with ranges of 20°or more, all
occurring before or on the 11th.

January 2015 featured mostly muted maximum and minimum temperatures save for
the one day of 59° on the 4th and a few cold days around the 5th-10th. Precipitation
was spread out fairly evenly throughout the month. Snowfall was also spread fairly
evenly through the month, in several light amounts. February appears to have gotten
off to a colder start, with still good chances for a significant snow over the next
few weeks. Ice coverage in local ponds and streams has dramatically increased over
the early part of February. I will discuss the cold and snow of February in a few
short weeks. Spring is not far away, just a few more weeks of this cold winter weather!

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