Matt Sutkoski, Contributor
The mean temperature in Burlington, Vermont, for January was 29.7 degrees. That ties the mark for the third hottest January on record. Data go back to the 1880s. The month was a full 11 degrees warmer than normal. Preliminary data suggest northwestern Vermont had the largest departure from normal of any place in the United States.
January is usually the deepest of winter months in Vermont, with long stretches that stay below freezing and frequent excursions to below-zero levels at night. Not this year. It never once got below zero, and only nine days stayed below freezing. Only two days stayed below 20 degrees for the full 24 hours.
Snowfall was super wimpy in January, too, at least in low elevations like Burlington. Only 7.6 inches fell during the month against a normal of 21.1 inches. However, we didn’t quite make it into the Top 10 for least snowy Januaries.
Snow for the entire season is almost as sparse as the near-record lows suffered last winter. So far, Burlington has received 28.6 inches of snow against a normal of 44.4 inches that should have fallen by now.
Elsewhere in Vermont, data from the National Weather Service in South Burlington showed most weather stations in the state, such as at Montpelier, St. Johnsbury and Springfield, averaged about seven to eight degrees warmer than normal—pretty darn substantial.
For those wondering about the lingering drought that is still waiting to potentially pounce back out at us in the spring, the news wasn’t super. While Burlington’s precipitation in January 2017 was close to normal, most of the rest of the state had precipitation that was about two-thirds to three- quarters of an inch below normal for the month.
Vermont wasn’t alone in its January warmth. Many cities across the south and east had one of their mildest Januaries on record. The northwestern part of the country—the upper half of the West Coast, and the northern Rockies—were on the cold side last month. Some areas were particularly hot, such as parts of the Gulf Coast states and New England. But, as I said, it appears that northwestern Vermont around Burlington took the national prize for warmth.
Of course, there’s no telling what February will bring. But given a relatively warm December and a super warm January, this winter could be the second in a row that is among the top 10 warmest. It all depends on whether February continues the big warm streak.
Matt’s Weather Rapport is written by Vermont-based journalist and weather reporter Matt Sutkoski. This blog has a nationwide and worldwide focus, with particular interest in Vermont and the Northeast. Find Matt’s Weather Rapport for expert analysis of weather events, news, the latest on climate change science, fun stuff and wild photos and videos of big weather events. Also check for his frequent quick weather updates on Twitter.