January 2012 Weather and Climate Review Including Narrative

(Click on the links in gray boxes below to quickly jump to information located farther down the page)

 Monthly Narrative

Tri-Cities and Ord Details, and Monthly Extremes Graphs, Tables, Maps Drought Monitor Graphics

Monthly Precipitation/Snowfall Tables and Archive of These Monthly Reviews


January 2012 Weather Stories 
(Click HERE for archive to all web stories)

Early Jan.

Explanation of the Late December - Early January Warm Spell

Jan. 5:

Record High Temperatures In The Tri-Cities

Dec. 11- Jan. 10:

Dec. 11- Jan. 10 Was One of The Warmest Winter Stretches On Record

Jan. 11:

Strong North Winds With Gusts 45-55 MPH

Jan. 30:

Record High Temperatures In The Tri-Cities

Jan. 2012:

Monthly Climate Summaries For Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Ord

(*Please Note: All climate data presented here are preliminary and have not undergone final quality control by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Therefore, these data are subject to revision. Final and certified climate data can be accessed at: WWW.NCDC.NOAA.GOV).

* Effective Aug. 1, 2011, the new set of 30-year climate averages, or "normals", from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) for 1981-2010 superseded the previous 30-year set of 1971-2000 normals on all NWS climate-related products.


 JANUARY 2012 CLIMATE REVIEW FOR SOUTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA 
AND PORTIONS OF NORTH CENTRAL KANSAS

...Well-Above Normal Temperatures Area-Wide...But Below Normal Precipitation and Snowfall...

The following narrative focuses on climate and weather highlights for the month of January 2012 across the NWS Hastings coverage area, encompassing 24 counties in south central and central Nebraska, and 6 counties in north central Kansas. Click HERE for a map of this coverage area. The temperature and precipitation data presented here are largely based on the NWS Cooperative Observer network, along with data from a handful of automated airport sites. Climate averages and "normals" for January 2012 presented here are based on the official 1981-2010 normals.

TEMPERATURES
......(According to 30-year averages, "normal" January high temperatures range from 35-38 degrees across northern portions of the area generally north of Interstate 80, and from 36-41 degrees across southern portions of the area, including North Central Kansas. Low temperatures typically average between 10-15 degrees across the northern half of the area, and 14-18 degrees in southern counties...) 

For the fourth month in a row, and the sixth time in the last seven months, the entire 30-county area recorded above normal temperatures. However, it had been over a year since any month checked in as far above normal as January did, with most of the area averaging 5-7 degrees above normal. For places including the Nebraska Tri-Cities, the month ranked between the 9th-13th warmest January on record. However, it still fell well-short of matching the anomalous warmth of January 2006, which just six years ago established the mark for all-time warmest January across the area. On a national scale, January 2012 ranked as the 4th-warmest on record across the contiguous United States (see this story for details).

Breaking down the month into temperature trends, there were really no long stretches of extreme warmth, as it was more of a steady above normal trend. For example, Grand Island recorded above normal temperatures on 24 of 31 days, and reached at least 50 degrees on 12 days. In a normal January in Grand Island, highs only reach 50 degrees around six times. For most of the NWS Hastings coverage area, the two warmest days of the month were the 5th and 30th, with widespread upper 60s to mid-70s. All three Nebraska Tri-Cities set new daily high temperature records on those days. On the colder side of the spectrum, the only week that stood out with a handful of below normal readings was between the 16th-22nd, and even this was by no means a prolonged outbreak of Arctic air. The 19th was by far the coldest day of the month across the entire area with highs mainly in the 15-21 range. Looking at low temperatures, it was noteworthy that the vast majority of the 30-county area failed to drop below zero F° during the month.

The warm January was a continuation of a mild early-winter stretch that began during the latter two-thirds of December. In fact, the 31-day period from Dec. 11th to Jan. 10th registered as one of the Top-3 warmest Dec. 11-Jan. 10 periods on record across much of the area. Compared to ALL 31-day periods on record within the month of December and January, the average daily temperature of 35.7 degrees at Grand Island ranked as the 4th-warmest on record (see this story for more details). Although not the only factor at play, a pronounced lack of snow cover during the month certainly contributed to the well above-normal trend. 

In the Nebraska Tri-Cities, both the warmest and coldest readings of the month again occurred at Kearney, with a high of 69 degrees on the 5th, and a low of 1 on the 19th. Based on NWS Cooperative Observer and automated airport observations, the warmest reading within the 30-county area was 74 degrees on the 5th or 30th at Gothenburg, Beaver City, and Webster Dam (KS). The coldest reading of the month belonged to Loup City, with a low of -2 on the 19th.

(Please look farther down the page for more information on January 2012 temperatures and extremes, including detailed breakdowns for Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney and Ord)

PRECIPITATION/SNOWFALL...(According to 30-year averages, "normal" January precipitation (rainfall and snow liquid equivalent) across most of the 30-county area ranges somewhere between 0.40-inch and 0.70-inch, with the highest amounts favoring eastern areas closest to the Highway 81 corridor such as York, Hebron and Beloit. Normal January snowfall ranges from 5-7 inches across most of South Central Nebraska, and 3-5 inches in North Central Kansas.) 

Based on reports from around 70 NWS Cooperative Observers, along with a handful of automated airport sites, the entire 30-county area measured below normal precipitation and snowfall during January 2012. In fact, most of the area only received between 10% and 40% of normal January amounts, with at least half of the area measuring less than 0.15-inch. A few stations, including Upland (2 miles NE), Ravenna and Damar KS tallied no more than a Trace. Only far southeast portions of the area, mainly Thayer and Jewell Counties, received as high as 0.25-0.45 for the month. Snowfall wise, most of the area totaled 2 inches or less for the month, with the exception again focusing mainly in Thayer and Jewell Counties where 3-4 inch monthly totals were more common. The vast majority of all precipitation during the month fell on either the 16th or the 22nd, with several areas mainly near and east of Highway 281 measuring between 1 and 2.5 inches of snow on the 22nd. 

Per NWS Cooperative Observers (see wettest and driest stations farther down the page), some of the highest monthly precipitation totals included Hubbell (0.45 inches), Hebron (0.43) and Burr Oak KS (0.38). In the Nebraska Tri-Cities, the month ranked between the 11th and 20th-driest January on record. Snowfall-wise, a few of the highest monthly totals included 4.3 inches in Hebron, and 4.0 inches in Hubbell and Bruning. 

Needless to say, the lack of precipitation and snowfall in January 2012 stood in stark contrast from one year ago in January 2011, which ranked as one of the Top 4-snowiest on record in the Tri-Cities.

(Please look farther down the page for more information on January 2012 precipitation and extremes, including percent-of-normal plots, and a detailed breakdown for Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney and Ord. In addition, the link on the far upper right of this page contains an archive of monthly precipitation amounts for around 70 locations.)

DROUGHT STATUS
...Compared to the beginning of January, the U.S. Drought Monitor as of February 7th (images at bottom of page) reflected an improvement in official drought categories within the 30-county area. However, this improvement was mainly tied to a widespread precipitation event that occurred between Feb. 3-4, 2012, which is not covered in this January-focused narrative but will be discussed in the upcoming February one. As a result of this early-February precipitation, all Category D1 (moderate drought) was removed from eastern portions of South Central Nebraska, where it had resided for several weeks. However, a narrow corridor of Category D0 (abnormally dry) conditions remained in this same general area, primarily affecting portions of Polk, Hamilton, York, Clay, Fillmore, Nuckolls and Thayer Counties, and also brushing the far northern edge of Jewell County Kansas. Elsewhere within the NWS Hastings 30-county area, NO abnormally dry or drought conditions were indicated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as of Feb. 7th.

(Please refer to the Drought Monitor graphics toward the bottom of the page for further details)

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS/HIGH WINDS...No severe thunderstorms occurred within the NWS Hastings coverage area during January 2012. However, there was one widespread strong wind event on the 11th, as north winds gusted from 45-55 MPH for several hours in the wake of a strong cold front (see story here).

- Number of Severe Thunderstorm Warning polygons issued by NWS Hastings in January 2012: ZERO (same as last year)
- Number of Tornado Warning polygons issued by NWS Hastings in January 2012: ZERO (same as last year)

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  January 2012 Climate Details For Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney and Ord...Along With Temperature and Rainfall Extremes For NWS Cooperative Observer and Automated Airport Sites

Click on the links below for the January 2012 climate summaries for Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney and Ord:

Grand Island     Hastings     Kearney         Ord

...JANUARY 2012 TEMPERATURE/PRECIPITATION/SNOWFALL EXTREMES FROM NWS HASTINGS COOPERATIVE 
OBSERVERS OR AUTOMATED ASOS/AWOS SITES...

...A FEW OF THE WARMEST HIGH TEMPERATURES DURING JAN. 2012                        
74 Degrees...Gothenburg on the 5th (Cooperative Observer)
74 Degrees...Beaver City on the 30th (Cooperative Observer)
74 Degrees...Webster Dam KS on the 5th, 30th (Cooperative Observer)
73 Degrees...Red Cloud on the 30th (Cooperative Observer)
72 Degrees...Lexington airport on the 5th (automated AWOS)
71 Degrees...Alton KS (2 miles SW) on the 5th, 30th (Cooperative Observer)
71 Degrees...Smith Center KS on the 30th (Cooperative Observer)
71 Degrees...Plainville KS ( 4 miles WNW) on the 5th, 30th (Cooperative Observer)
71 Degrees...Beloit KS on the 5th, 30th (Cooperative Observer)
71 Degrees...Franklin on the 30th (Cooperative Observer)
71 Degrees...Loup City on the 5th (Cooperative Observer)
                         
...A FEW OF THE COLDEST LOW TEMPERATURES DURING JAN. 2012 
-2 Degrees...Loup City on the 19th (Cooperative Observer)
-1 Degrees...Greeley on the 19th (Cooperative Observer)
-1 Degrees...Ord airport on the 19th (automated ASOS)
-1 Degrees...Cambridge on the 17th (Cooperative Observer)
-1 Degrees...Gothenburg on the 19th (Cooperative Observer)
 0 Degrees...Osceola on the 19th (Cooperative Observer)
 0 Degrees...Genoa (2 miles W) on the 19th (Cooperative Observer)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
...A FEW OF THE HIGHEST RAINFALL AND/OR SNOW-LIQUID EQUIVALENT TOTALS DURING JAN. 2012           
(May also include observations from NeRAIN network)                                                   
0.45 Inches...Hubbell in Thayer County (Cooperative Observer)
0.43 Inches...Hebron in Thayer County (Cooperative Observer)
0.38 Inches...Burr Oak KS in Jewell County (Cooperative Observer)
0.39 Inches...Hardy (3 miles NW) in Nuckolls County (NeRAIN observer)
0.29 Inches...Clay Center in Clay County (Cooperative Observer)
0.28 Inches...Mankato KS in Jewell County (Cooperative Observer)
0.28 Inches...Lebanon KS in Smith County (Cooperative Observer)
0.26 Inches...Jewell KS in Jewell County (Cooperative Observer)
0.25 Inches...Bruning in Thayer County (Cooperative Observer)
0.23 Inches...York (3 miles N) in York County (Cooperative Observer)
                                
...A FEW OF THE LOWEST RAINFALL AND/OR SNOW-LIQUID EQUIVALENT TOTALS DURING JAN. 2012 
ZERO...Upland (2 miles NE) in Franklin County (Cooperative Observer)
ZERO...Palco KS in Rooks County (Cooperative Observer)
Trace...Damar KS in Rooks County (Cooperative Observer)
Trace...Kirwin Dam KS in Phillips County (Cooperative Observer)
Trace...Ravenna in Buffalo County (Cooperative Observer)
0.01 Inches...Cozad in Dawson County (Cooperative Observer)
0.02 Inches...Arcadia in Valley County (Cooperative Observer)
0.02 Inches...Lexington (6 miles SSE, Canaday Plant) in Gosper County (Cooperative Observer)
0.02 Inches...Harlan Lake in Harlan County (Cooperative Observer)

...A FEW OF THE HIGHEST SNOWFALL TOTALS DURING JAN. 2012 
4.3 Inches...Hebron in Thayer County (Cooperative Observer)
4.0 Inches...Hubbell in Thayer County (Cooperative Observer)
4.0 Inches...Bruning in Thayer County (Cooperative Observer)
3.5 Inches...Mankato KS in Jewell County (Cooperative Observer)
3.3 Inches...Jewell KS in Jewell County (Cooperative Observer)
3.0 Inches...Dannebrog (4 miles NW) in Howard County (Cooperative Observer)
2.4 Inches...Wolbach in Greeley County (Cooperative Observer)
2.4 Inches...Shelby (3 miles NE) in Polk County (Cooperative Observer)
2.3 Inches...Central City in Merrick County (Cooperative Observer)
2.2 Inches...Elwood (8 miles S) in Gosper County (Cooperative Observer)
 

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Various graphs and tables depicting January 2012 climate data for 
South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas:

(Please Note: THESE DATA ARE PRELIMINARY AND HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FINAL QUALITY CONTROL BY THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER /NCDC/. THEREFORE...THESE DATA ARE SUBJECT TO REVISION. FINAL AND CERTIFIED CLIMATE DATA CAN BE ACCESSED AT WWW.NCDC.NOAA.GOV)

Click Each Graph To Go To Monthly Temp/Precip Summary Pages

Grand Island Temperature Summary: Observed daily maximum and minimum temperatures are connected by blue bars. Area between normal maximum and minimum temperatures is shaded green. Red bars connect record high temperatures. Blue bars connect record low temperatures.

Hastings Temperature Summary: Observed daily maximum and minimum temperatures are connected by blue bars. Area between normal maximum and minimum temperatures is shaded green. Red bars connect record high temperatures. Blue bars connect record low temperatures.

 
Click Images To Enlarge

Grand Island Precipitation Summary Blue line indicates cumulative observed precipitation for Janaury 2012. Red line indicates "normal" January precipitation based on 30-year data from 1981-2010.

Hastings Precipitation Summary Blue line indicates cumulative observed precipitation for January 2012. Red line indicates "normal" January precipitation based on 30-year data from 1981-2010.

 

Grand Island (Regional Airport) - Jan. 2011 - Jan. 2012

  Jan. 2011 February March April May June July August Sep. October November December January

Average High (F)

28.5

39.0

48.6

61.5

71.5

83.7

89.0

86.0

74.8

68.7

52.7

39.6

45.1

Average Low (F)

8.7

15.8

27.5

38.1

48.1

59.9

69.8

63.5

47.3

41.1

26.4

19.5

19.4

Average Temperature (F)

18.6

27.4

38.1

49.8

59.8

71.8

79.4

74.7

61.0

54.9

39.6

29.5

32.2

Departure from Normal (F)

-3.8

-0.8

-0.2

-0.1

-0.8

+0.7

+3.6

+0.7

-4.1

+2.7

+1.5

+2.8

+7.1

 

Precipitation (inches)

1.49

0.28

1.02

2.93

8.70

1.72

4.37

2.30

0.83

2.20

0.21

 1.11

0.16

Departure from Normal

+0.95

-0.40

-1.02

+0.32

+4.63

-2.00

+1.23

-0.82

-1.40

+0.34

-0.96

+0.48

-0.37

 

Snowfall (inches)

18.7

2.2

8.7

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Trace

8.3

1.6

Departure from Normal

+12.1

-3.9

+3.1

-1.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-0.1

-1.0

-3.1

+3.1

-5.0

 

Hastings (Municipal Airport) - Jan. 2011 - Jan. 2012

  Jan. 2011 February March April

May

June

July

August

Sep.

October

November

December

January

Average High (F)

28.6

38.2

49.2

61.9

71.1

83.1

89.8

84.3

74.0

68.4

52.7

39.2

44.4

Average Low (F)

10.2

16.0

28.4

38.6

48.3

60.8

69.9

64.6

48.2

41.5

27.2

18.9

19.0

Average Temperature (F)

19.4

27.1

38.8

50.3

59.7

71.9

79.9

74.4

61.1

54.9

40.0

29.0

31.7

Departure from Normal (F)

-4.2

-2.5

-0.3

-0.3

-1.8

+0.2

+3.8

+0.1

-4.5

+2.3

+1.3

+1.4

+5.7

 

Precipitation (inches)

1.00

0.30

0.49

4.34

5.03

2.65

4.96

4.90

0.70

1.36

0.38

1.00

0.14

Departure from Normal

+0.45

-0.37

-1.59

+1.47

+0.44

-0.94

+1.15

+1.60

-1.86

 -0.63

-0.91

+0.39

-0.27

 

Snowfall NWS Office (inches)

20.0

5.2

4.4

1.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Trace

9.4

1.7

Departure from Normal

+14.0

-1.3

-0.8

-0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-0.2

-1.0

-2.6

+3.3

-4.8

 

Kearney (Cooperative Observer at Airport) - Jan. 2011 - Jan. 2012
(*Temperature Data may include "mix"of automated obs and Cooperative Observer obs to better reflect true "calendar day" averages)

 

Jan. 2011

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

Sep.

October

November

December

January

Average High (F)*

29.7

38.2

48.2

60.9

70.5

82.7

88.1

84.9

74.1

67.7

52.2

39.2

44.7

Average Low (F)*

8.5

13.6

25.7

37.0

45.8

59.2

68.4

63.9

47.3

40.0

24.9

18.0

18.5

Average Temperature (F)*

19.1

25.9

37.0

49.0

58.2

71.0

78.2

74.4

60.7

53.8

38.5

28.6

31.6

Departure from Normal (F)*

-3.3

-1.7

0.0

+0.8

-1.0

+1.2

+3.5

+1.8

-2.8

+2.9

+1.5

+2.7

+7.0

 

Precipitation (inches)

0.86

0.12

0.90

3.45

7.53

4.51

4.07

3.72

0.65

4.92

0.33

0.39

0.03

Departure from Normal

+0.32

-0.49

-1.15

+1.02

+3.41

+0.58

+0.79

+0.64

-1.42

+2.88

-0.69

-0.18

-0.46

 

Snowfall (inches)

15.6

4.7

11.7

T

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Trace

6.6

Trace

Departure from Normal

+10.3

-0.4

+6.1

-2.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-0.2

-0.7

-3.1

+3.1

-4.4

 

Ord (Evelyn Sharp Field Airport) - Jan. 2011 - Jan. 2012
(*Winter precipitiation data may include coop observer reports due to automated airport equipment under-measuring snowfall liquid equivalent)

  Jan. 2011

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

January

Average High (F)

-

-

-

59.1

68.7

80.4

88.9

86.1

74.5

66.6

52.8

39.5

45.0

Average Low (F)

-

-

-

35.2

44.9

57.0

67.6

61.4

43.9

36.6

20.2

14.1

15.6

Average Temperature (F)

-

-

-

47.2

56.8

68.7

78.2

73.8

59.2

51.6

36.5

26.8

30.3

Departure from Normal (F)

-

-

-

-1.6

-2.5

-0.5

+3.8

+0.8

-4.4

+2.0

+0.2

+1.9

+5.7

 

Precipitation (inches)*

-

-

-

2.51

4.90

4.16

2.23

2.46

0.77

2.83

0.03

0.54

0.13

Departure from Normal

-

-

-

-0.08

+1.09

+0.04

-0.74

-0.70

-1.67

+0.90

-1.04

-0.05

-0.24

 

Snowfall (Coop Observer)

-

-

-

3.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Trace

8.5

1.5

Departure from Normal

-

-

-

+0.5

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-1.1

-5.3

+1.1

-5.3

 

Smith Center KS (Cooperative Observer) - Jan. 2011 - Jan. 2012
(*All data from coop observer with daily 24-hour obs taken around 7 AM. As a result, data may vary slightly from true "calendar day" averages)

 

Jan. 2011

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

Sep.

October

November

December

January

Average High (F)*

34.6

40.6

52.8

66.2

73.8

86.9

95.8

89.5

78.0

71.0

54.4

43.0

47.1

Average Low (F)*

10.8

13.5

27.6

38.1

47.1

60.4

69.2

65.6

49.8

41.0

27.3

18.7

18.5

Average Temperature (F)*

22.7

27.1

40.2

52.1

60.5

73.7

82.5

77.6

63.9

56.0

40.9

30.9

32.8

Departure from Normal (F)*

-5.0

-4.9

-1.4

-0.4

-3.3

-0.3

+2.8

+0.4

-4.3

+1.2

+0.5

+2.1

+5.1

 

Precipitation (inches)

0.75

0.86

0.54

2.30

9.45

4.82

5.25

5.03

0.39

2.32

0.72

0.95

0.13

Departure from Normal

+0.26

+0.28

-1.33

+0.03

+5.53

+1.21

+1.38

+1.73

-1.65

+0.44

-0.50

+0.29

-0.36

 

Snowfall (inches)

10.2

11.2

3.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.6

 3.7

Trace

Departure from Normal

+6.5

+7.1

+0.8

-0.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-0.2

-0.4

-1.2

+0.5 

-3.7


Most of the following images depicting January 2012 Precipitation and Temperatures are courtesy of 
the High Plains Regional Climate Center:

Please note: These maps are a "best-approximation" of actual measured values, and data reflected on these maps may not exactly match actual values due to the effects of interpolation and "smoothing" used to create the maps.

Click Images To Enlarge
Nebraska: January 2012 Measured Precipitation (Inches) Kansas: January 2012 
Measured Precipitation (Inches)
Nebraska: Jan.2012 Percent of Normal Measured Precip. (%) Kansas: Jan. 2012 Percent of 
Normal Measured Precip. (%)
 
NWS Hastings Area: Jan. 2012 Total "Observed" Precipitation 
Based On AHPS Precipitation Analysis Including Radar Data

<--- While the precipitation images above are based strictly on gauge-measured data, this image on the left utilizes an "Observed" multisensor approach created by River Forecast Centers. Hourly precipitation estimates from WSR-88D NEXRAD radar are compared to ground rainfall gauge reports, and a bias (correction factor) is calculated and applied to the radar field. For much more information on these types of images, and to create your own precipitation maps, please visit the following site: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge2/RFC_Precip/index.php?site=gid  

   
Nebraska: Jan. 2012 Temperature Departure from Normal (F) Kansas: Jan. 2012 Temperature Departure from Normal (F)


The following drought status images, current as of Feb. 7, 2012, are courtesy of the U.S. Drought Monitor (see narrative above for more details):

Click Images To Enlarge

Nebraska - U.S. Drought Monitor as of Feb. 7, 2012

Kansas - U.S. Drought Monitor as of Feb. 7, 2012

For more climate related information, check out the following websites:

This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.
 



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