By Jason Parrish, Chief Meteorologist - bio | email
NOAA's January weather recap is below, as far as West Virginia is concerned, it was the 7th coldest month on record (120 year records), although not as damp, ranking only the 92 wettest January on record. Check out the accompanying graphics for more information.
Climate Highlights — January
The average temperature for the contiguous United States during January was 30.3°F, or 0.1°F below the 20thcentury average. The January 2014 temperature ranked near the middle of the 120-year period of record, and was the coldest January since 2011. Despite some of the coldest Arctic air outbreaks to impact the East in several years, no state had their coldest January on record.
Above-average temperatures were observed from the Rockies, westward. Arizona, California, and Nevadaeach had January temperatures ranking among the 10 warmest on record. No state had an average monthly temperature that was record warm.
There were more than two and a half as many record cold daily highs (2620) and lows (2174, or a total of 4794) as record warm daily highs (820) and lows (948, or a total of 1768).
The average January national precipitation total was 1.32 inches, 0.90 inch below the 20th century average, ranking as the fifth-driest January on record and the driest since 2003. Dry conditions dominated much of the western and southern United States, with severe-to-exceptional drought engulfing much of California and Nevada. Numerous winter storms impacted the central and eastern U.S., bringing above-average snowfall but closer-to-average total precipitation for the month.
Drier-than-average conditions were present through much of the West and Great Plains, and into parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Eight states had January precipitation totals that ranked among the 10 driest. New Mexico had its driest January on record with 0.03 inch of precipitation, 0.57 inch below the 20th century average.
The Alaska statewide average temperature was 14.8°F above the 1971-2000 average, marking the third-warmest January in the 96-year period of record. This was the warmest January for the state since 1985.Alaska also was wetter than average during January with a statewide precipitation total 69.8 percent above the 1971-2000 average. This was the eighth-wettest January on record for Alaska and the wettest since 1993.
According to analysis by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab using NOAA data, the January snow cover extent across the contiguous U.S. was the 16th smallest in the 48-year period of record at 1.28 million square miles, about 82,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average. Above-average snow cover was observed across the Northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast where numerous winter storms brought heavy snowfall during the month, while below-average snow cover was observed for most of the West and Southern Rockies.
According to the February 4 U.S. Drought Monitor report, 37.4 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, up from 31.0 percent at the beginning of January. Drought conditions improved in the Northeast but worsened across the western Gulf Coast, the Southern Rockies, and much of the West. For the first time in the 15-year period of record for the U.S. Drought Monitor, California experienced the worst classification of drought, known as D4 or "exceptional".