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January temperatures swing between record highs, extreme lows

Eric Felack | Tribune-Review
Boyce Park ski lift attendant Mark Kaczanowicz chops chunks of ice under the lift chairs on Thursday. Officials say privatizing the ski operation could reduce the county's costs while extending the operating system.

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By R.A. Monti
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 1:26 a.m.

In terms of temperature, January was a roller-coaster ride.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Palko, the average temperature for the month was 31.4 degrees. That's 3.1 degrees higher than normal.

But, that doesn't tell the whole story, according to Palko.

“That's not representative of the month,” Palko said. “It doesn't account for all the wild swings in temperature we had. We basically had two January thaws.”

The first of those thaws occurred on Jan. 12 and 13, when high temperatures reached 61 and 67 degrees, respectively. The second of the January mini-heat waves was on Jan. 29 and 30, when high temperatures again hit the 60s.

Wednesday's high of 68 degrees made that day the warmest Jan. 30 on record. It broke the previous high daily temperature record of 66 degrees set in 1916.

That high mark was reached just seven days after the Alle-Kiski Valley experienced its lowest temperature — 4 degrees on Jan. 23.

The month's coldest day occurred on Jan. 22, when the mercury dipped to 13 degrees.

Jan. 22 started a run of four consecutive days that didn't have temperatures climb above 20 degrees.

Snowfall was normal

When it came to snowfall, January was pretty normal, Palko said. “We typically see 11.8 inches of snow for the month,” he said Thursday afternoon. “Coming into (Thursday) we had 10.1 inches, by the end of (Thursday) we should be pretty close to normal.”

There were 14 days in January in which snow fell — including 11 straight between Jan. 16 and Jan. 26.

The Valley received 2.33 inches of precipitation, which combines rainfall and the snow's liquid equivalent. The normal amount of precipitation for January is 2.61 inches.

For the rest of the winter and early spring, the National Weather Service is predicting business as usual.

The weather service's three-month outlook calls for average temperatures and average snowfall and precipitation.

Forecasts for the first seven days of February call for high temperatures in the 30s and snow every day.

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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