Warm West offsets cold East, makes average January

| Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 7:57 p.m.

WASHINGTON — For those who shivered through January, this may be hard to believe: Nationwide, the average temperature for the month was about normal because a warm West offset a cool East.

January in the Lower 48 states was the 53rd coldest of 120 years of record-keeping, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration announced on Thursday. The average was 30.3 degrees, only one-tenth of a degree below normal for the month.

While Alabama had its fourth-coldest January on record, California and Alaska had their third warmest.

“The phrase, ‘the new normal' definitely applies to our perception of January 2014 weather out east,” Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said. “We've gotten used to a warmer climate.”

The frequent but not unusual cold winters of 30 years ago now seem “really extreme,” he said.

And even though it seemed like it snowed a lot in the East, the snow on the ground in January in the Lower 48 was the 16th smallest in 48 years of record-keeping by the Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.

— Associated Press

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