Average High Temperature: 31.4°F
Record High Temperature: 70°F (the 25th, 1967)
Average Low Temperature: 14°F
Record Low Temperature: -26°F (the 26th, 1966)
Average Precipitation: 2.60" inches
Maximum Precipitation: 5.77" (1978)
Minimum Precipitation: 1.02" (1970)
Average Snowfall: 31.5"
Record Snowfall: 78.1" (2004)
Least Snowfall: 11.8" (1975)
The good news in January is that we gain almost an hour of daylight over the course of the month. The bad news is that temperatures are still dropping - from an average high of 33°F on New Years Day, to 31°F on the last day of the month.
While the weather can certainly be frightful this month, it's not at all extraordinary in the twenty years that I've lived in Syracuse for there to be stretches of mild weather, too. In fact, the average high temperature on our anniversary, January 13th, over the past three years (2005-2007) has been 57.3°F!
In my mind, there are three significant weather-related concerns this month.
First, the above mentioned stretches of mild weather often end with temperatures plunging to near zero, or below within a matter of days. In January of 2005, for example, the temperature rose to 64°F late on the 13th and into the 14th. By the 18th, the high for the day was only 7°F, and lows between the 18th and 24th ranged from 0°F to -14°F.
While this drop in temperature wasn't nearly as dramatic as those recorded in Missouri more than sixty years ago, it did result in significant damage to weeping cherry trees, privet hedges and other plants in many Central New York landscapes.
Next, the snow piling up in your landscape this month can provide cover for voracious voles and a bridge for rascally rabbits once it crusts over. Unfortunately, both of these critters will gnaw through the bark of young trees and some shrubs to get at the sugar-rich phloem and cambium cells, effectively "girdling" the plants. As you might imagine, this isn't a good thing, so click here to learn how to prevent this kind of damage.
And, snowplows are running amok - especially after it's been snowing for several days. For thoughts on how to resolve this issue once and for all, click here.
Finally, it's time for things to start blooming in Central New York landscapes. That's right, in our backyard, `Jelena' witchhazel is often in bloom by the end of the month (photo at the top of the page)!