January 2022 Weather Recap
Seasonal Temperatures for Northern California
Northern California experienced a warm and pleasant January to ring in the new year. With high pressure dominating the West Coast, the region saw sunny skies with pleasantly mild temperatures as highs ranged in the 60s and 70s. While most locations experienced temperatures within normal January ranges, a few broke some long-standing high temperature records.
After the historic December rainfall, these sunny, dry, and warm conditions seemed highly unusual for the region. However, the National Weather Service reports show that these conditions were not well above the historic January temperature records. The majority of locations that broke records were at or near 70 °F (21.1 °C), but the winning spot was Ukiah, which came in at whopping 78 °F (25.6 °C), tying its January 22 record of 78 °F (25.6 °C) that hasn’t been reached since way back in 1934!
Compare Record Temperatures to My Backyard Weather Station
When looking at official weather records, it’s always interesting to see how they compare to your backyard weather conditions. My AcuRite Atlas® home weather station captured these warm January temperatures and shows my location surpassed 70 °F (21.1 °C) a total of eight days in January! The January high temperature as recorded in My AcuRite® shows the warmest day occurred on January 25, with a high of 72.7 °F (22.6 °C).
Unfortunately, these warm and dry conditions bring the return of fire risk to Northern California. Fire danger increases with such conditions, but fortunately for the region, the vegetation, or fuels needed for the fire, are very green after December’s rainfall. This moisture in the plants, trees, and grasses allows for more difficult fire ignition and reduced fire spread. Regardless, high pressure built over the Great Basin on January 21 and created a dry and breezy offshore wind event. In addition to this warm air mass, my AcuRite Atlas weather station also captured the strong winds with a clear peak in wind speed strength (as seen in the graph below) on this day. The maximum sustained wind speed reached 29 mph, with an average wind speed for the day at 16 mph.
At the same time, a new California wildfire broke out (the Colorado fire), just south of the San Francisco Bay Area along the state’s historic U.S. Highway 1. As soon as the fire started, evacuations were ordered. But fortunately, fire management crews quickly put out the flames with the help of the high moisture content of the fuels (the green vegetation covering the area)! The crews suppressed the wildfire after it burned 687 acres, prevented buildings and structures from damage, and ensured no lives were lost. This success story might have had a very different ending if the fire had occurred later in the year when the vegetation had a longer chance to dry out. Another great reason why the region needs more rainfall before the 2022 California fire season begins.
And just like that, with over 30 days of no precipitation, the California snowpack transforms from above-normal to below-normal levels. By looking at the charts above to compare the conditions from one month ago, you can see the early January snowpack for the state was at 147%. As of February 1, the state is already below 100%, with a statewide average of 92%. However, the national drought monitor shows a very positive look at the reduced drought conditions for the state. By comparing the last week in January to the last week in December, we can see significantly improved conditions! Only a small area in far Northern California remains under Extreme Drought conditions, with most of the state reduced to Severe and Moderate Drought. While this sounds like a cause for celebration, California remains in a state of drought under these current categories.
The Days Are Getting Longer!
If there’s one thing we can celebrate this month, it's that the hours of daylight are getting longer, and my AcuRite Atlas can prove it! The hours of measured light exceeded 10 hours on January 25, and the average light intensity gradually increased throughout the month. Finally, we are starting to see that seasonal shift towards the spring equinox as the sun angle rises and the hours of daylight lengthen by one to two minutes every day!
Share and Discuss Your Local Weather
Report on the warm or cold temperatures captured by your AcuRite weather station, or report on the strong winds or heavy snowfall experienced in your region throughout January. Share and discuss your local weather data and weather stories below!