Beckley, WV (WVNS) — January was a month of extremes from temperatures to precipitation, both frozen and unfrozen. We’ll break it all down and where this puts us in regards to the year ahead in our first monthly review of 2022.
Despite an astronomically warm start to the month with January 1 seeing a high of 68F in Beckley, we managed to crash back to below-average conditions after a brutally cold follow-up to December. Overall we spent 23 of the 31 days of January below average, along with four mornings spent in the single digits. The coldest day was on January 29, when the average temperature was only 12.5F. January 2022 ranks as the twenty-sixth coldest January on record out of 107 years! That’s in the top 25% of all years.
For fun, we’ll recalculate the average temperature of the month without the first day in there. Without January 1, the average temperature for the month drops by a whole degree to -5.2F. This would have moved 2022 up to the twentieth coldest January on record. It’s impressive to see the impact one really warm day can have on the whole month.
Active weather was in no short supply during the month, from rain to snow we saw plenty of both. Overall liquid precipitation, which includes both rain and the liquid-equivalent of snow that fell, topped out at just over five inches. Nearly half of that fell on January 1, proving to be an important day to this month, when rain rolled in along a cold front bringing some flooding and a few strong storms along the coalfields.
For snow, we did alright this month. After a very slow start to winter due to the third warmest December on record for Beckley, we saw a few things go right to see snow in West Virginia. Despite a La Niña which tends to skew us towards milder temperatures, we had a negative “North Atlantic Oscillation” through most of the month which promotes cold air intrusions as it forces the jet stream south. This opened the door for cold air to be in place as well as forcing the storm track right over us. Thanks to this boost, this was the nineteenth (out of 107) snowiest January in Beckley. Despite that achievement, as a whole, we are below average for snow through the end of January at only 22-inches so far, compared to the 33.1-inches we would normally see by now.