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February to start cold, before a warm-up

February to start cold, before a warm-up

January cold, snowy - but not a record setter
February to start cold, before a warm-up
State park employee Devon Gnip-Gentiluomo sprays water on the ice rink near the Warming Hut at Saratoga Spa State Park.
Photographer: Erica Miller

CAPITAL REGION -- Bitter cold temperatures that froze Capital Region residents in late January will continue as February begins.

But not for long -- warmer weather is on the way. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Albany said temperatures could be near 50 by Tuesday.

But first, more frigid weather. Meteorologists on Thursday issued a wind chill advisory active through 11 a.m. Friday morning -- wind chills as cold as minus 15 to minus 30 were expected overnight in the southern Adirondacks, the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys, the Helderberg Mountains and the southern Green Mountains.

The wind chills, meteorologists say, will be dangerous enough to cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes during the advisory.

"At about 7 a.m., temperatures will be right around minus 2 and minus 5," said meteorologist Joe Villani. "Those wind chills are going to be anywhere from minus 10 to minus 15 in the Capital District -- very, very cold."

Villani said people will notice a significant change by Sunday.

"We're expecting temperatures closer to normal, 30 to 31 as a high in the Capital Region," he said. "It will definitely feel quite a bit warmer than the last few days. Temperatures will be in the mid-40s by Monday -- near 50 on Tuesday. It's quite the swing."

Winter came to the Capital Region with a vengeance in the second half of January. The season started with an explosion of snow -- a storm dropped 13.9 inches of accumulation on the region on Jan. 19 and 20, making it the 10th largest January snowstorm on record for the Capital Region.

The snowstorm that hit Tuesday added 3.6 inches to January's snowfall total of 18.9 inches -- one inch more than the normal January snowfall of 17.9 inches.

"We've had some pretty snowy Januaries; we're not close to the top 10," Villani said. "It was an average month for snow, and most of it came during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend."

January's highest snowfall total came in 1987, according to weather service record charts, when 47.8 inches fell. The 10th snowiest January took place in 1891, when 30.6 inches of snow were recorded.

Even with the recent late-January cold snap, the month finished slightly warmer than normal.

Villani said the average temperature for January -- the average of high and low temperatures from each day -- was 23.9 degrees. The normal January average is 22.6 degrees.

By comparison, the coldest January on record took place in 1970, when the average temperature was 9.7 degrees. The 10th coldest was 1982, when the average was 14.3.

Contact Daily Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]


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