Feb 7, 2018

January brought largest drought footprint in nearly 4 years to U.S.

United States
by
NOAA
Map of the United States showing various categories of drought affecting different regions in January 2018. For details, please visit http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu. Image: Drought.gov
Map of the United States showing various categories of drought affecting different regions in January 2018. For details, please visit http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu. Image: Drought.gov

During January, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 32.2 degrees F, 2.1 degrees above average, ranking among the warmest third in the 124-year record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

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Below-average precipitation was observed across large areas of the country, including parts of the Southwest, Southern Plains, Northern Plains, Midwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Above-average precipitation was observed across parts of the Northwest, Central Plains and Northeast.

Other notable climate events for the month

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Alaska experienced the warmest January temperature on record: On January 14, the temperature at a NOAA tide gauge at Ketchikan reached 67 degrees F, the highest January daily temperature ever measured in Alaska, besting the previous record of 62 degrees set in January 2014.

Pacific Islands were record-dry: Drought conditions spread and intensified into the U.S. Pacific Islands during January. Honolulu received 0.06 inches of rain, only three percent of normal, marking the third driest January on record. Guam record only 0.94 inches of rain, making it the driest January since records began in 1957.