Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

‘Average’ temperature hides real depth of January’s cold

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/24/19/00/1qxDf8.Em.138.jpeg|316
    ALAN JENKINS - ajenkins@charlotteobserver.com
    A fountain outside a shopping center on John J. Delaney Drive, off Ballantyne Commons Parkway in south Charlotte, froze over during Thursday night’s frigid temperatures.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/24/19/00/T8fu9.Em.138.jpeg|209
    DIEDRA LAIRD - dlaird@charlotteobserver.com
    With the temperature in the 20s, Derek Stephenson of SMS Catering Services gets barbecue ready for a lunch Friday for the topping off of an apartment building, the Element Uptown.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/24/19/00/140yCR.Em.138.jpeg|348
    DAVIE HINSHAW - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    School buses exit the CMS bus lot on Wilkinson Boulevard early Friday morning, Jan. 24, 2014. CMS schools operated on a 2-hour delay due to cold temperatures.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/24/19/00/16bgLg.Em.138.jpeg|193
    DAVIE HINSHAW - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Runners jog Friday along Queens Road, where ice formed for several blocks between Edgehill and Granville roads because of a broken water pipe in a residential yard. .
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/24/19/00/1eN00P.Em.138.jpeg|152
    DAVIE HINSHAW - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg buses prepare to hit the streets at the bus lot on Wilkinson Boulevard on Friday morning. The school system operated on a 2-hour delay due to the cold temperatures.

More Information

  • Red Cross to open Charlotte warming center
  • Charlotte Style: Warm things to do this weekend
  • January, by the numbers

    Average 2014 temperature – 36.5

    Coldest January – 30.1 (1977)


  • Cold January days

    Number of days when Charlotte’s high temperature was 39 or colder (2014 figures are through Saturday and likely will increase):

    2014 – 6

    2013 – 1

    2012 – 1

    2011 – 6

    2010 – 7

    2009 – 4

    Number of days when Charlotte’s low was 19 or colder (2014 figures are through Friday and likely will increase):

    2014 – 7

    2013 – 1

    2012 – 1

    2011 – 3

    2010 – 12

    2009 – 3



National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Taylor says this month doesn’t even rank among the 15 coldest Januarys for Charlotte.

Don’t tell that to the thousands of area residents whose cars didn’t start or whose home water pipes burst on frigid mornings.

“It has been a busy, busy month,” said Angie Cliff of Jim Dickerson Plumbing and Electrical.

While the monthly temperature in Charlotte is only a few degrees below average, in many ways, this is turning out to be a very frigid January.

Temperatures never made it out of the 20s Friday in Charlotte, climbing only to 28. Meteorologists say it could happen one or two days again next week. And Friday started with a low of 10 degrees.

The number of frigid days – those with highs in the 20s and 30s, or lows of 20 degrees or colder – is the highest this January in four years. The last time it was this cold was January 2010, during one of the northern hemisphere’s snowiest and coldest winters in decades. And the number of frigid days likely will grow.

“We’ll be looking at another shot of very cold air next week,” said Taylor, who works at the Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C.

The Carolinas, except for the mountains, have escaped snowfall this month because the arctic air masses have been so strong that they pushed storm systems far south of the area. For example, a system that brought snow and ice Friday to Texas and Louisiana is predicted to move across the northern Gulf of Mexico and then out to sea. The same thing may happen Tuesday.

Instead, we’ve dealt with a number of cold, dry days. A string of warm days around the middle of the month is the reason that Charlotte’s overall average temperature this January is not among the coldest ever.

Twice this month, Charlotte’s daily high never made it to 30 degrees. That hasn’t happened in at least 10 years. And the number of mornings with lows of 20 degrees or colder – seven – is the largest since 2010. The coldest was a record-setting 6-degree low on Jan. 7.

“We usually get about 20 service calls a day,” Cliff said. “Back during that first cold snap (Jan. 7), we had about 70. Burst pipes and frozen pipes – that’s about all we were handling then.”

Forecasters say highs will be in the mid 40s Sunday. Yet even that temperature is below the average high at this time of year, which is 51 degrees.

Don’t complain, though. The next cold front is predicted to arrive sometime Monday. High temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday may not escape the 20s again, with morning lows in the teens.

All is not lost. Taylor has good news.

“The monthly outlook calls for a chance of above-average temperatures” in February, he said.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
Your 2 Cents
Share your opinion with our Partners
Learn More
CharlotteObserver.com