January seemed to fly by this year. It was remarkable how little snow we had. Here at Salem we received only 5.3 inches for the entire month. The most snow we had in one day was only 3.2 inches. So far this winter season we have had only 1.5 inches in November and 3.7 inches in December, making the seasonal total 10.5 inches. Even rainfall was minimal — just over an inch, far below normal.
Temperatures for January were above average, and they took a roller coaster ride throughout the month. We started off very cold with early morning readings in the single digits. A warming trend began on the 4th, and we enjoyed mostly above normal temperatures until the 20th. We even had a welcome January thaw from the 12th until the 15th, during which time we had our highest temperature for the month — a warm 63 degrees on the 14th.
Thereafter, the weather became much colder, and Salem reached its lowest temperature for the month — a chilling 1 degree above zero on the 24th. Finally, at month’s end we had another thaw with two days in the low 60s, as a fast-moving storm approached and passed us on the 31st. The temperature reached 61 degrees early in the morning. As the storm approached, our winds increased markedly with violent gusts as high as 60 mph here in Salem. As the associated cold front swept through, a brief, very heavy squally shower occurred and a delightful rainbow was observed. Finally, the temperatures took a plunge below freezing as January departed.
Now February has arrived. During this month our daytime temperatures are usually found in the mid-30s, while early morning readings dip into the low 20s. However, cold waves are possible, often accompanied by temperatures that can plunge below zero. During the past 30 years, our lowest February temperature was 5 degrees below zero in 1996, while our highest was a spring-like 71 degrees in 1985.