National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

* Driest January on record tied at Abilene, and 3rd driest January on record tied at San Angelo *

Precipitation for January was well-below normal across west-central Texas.  The monthly amounts were mostly less than one tenth of an inch, and a number of locations recorded only a trace of precipitation.    

The main precipitation event occurred on the 10th, but precipitation amounts were light. Some light rain and showers accompanied an upper level disturbance.  Rainfall amounts between one tenth and one quarter of an inch occurred across a small part of the southeastern Big Country, northeastern Concho Valley, and northern Heartland.    

At Abilene Regional Airport, the average temperature for January was 44.7 degrees.  This was 0.2 degrees below the normal average temperature of 44.9 degrees.  Total precipitation for Abilene in January was only a trace.  This was 1.02 inches below the normal of 1.02 inches.  This tied with with 3 other years (1912, 1914 and 1967) for the driest January on record.  No snowfall was recorded at Abilene in January.  

At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average temperature for January was 45.8 degrees.  This was 0.6 degrees below the normal average temperature of 46.4 degrees.  Total precipitation for San Angelo was only a trace.  This was 0.93 inches below the normal of 0.93 inches.  This tied with 4 other years (1912, 1914, 1959 and 1971) for the 3rd driest January on record.  A trace of snowfall was recorded at San Angelo in January.  

In January, a number of arctic airmass intrusions into the United States occurred during the month, and west-central Texas was affected by very cold air on three separate occasions.

These occasions were marked by strong cold frontal passages, which occurred during the overnight of the 4th and 5th, in the early morning hours of the 23rd, and on the early morning of the 27th.  Following these cold frontal passages, sharply colder air invaded the region, and was accompanied by brisk north or northeast winds.    

Table 1 (below) has a summary of the lowest wind chill values, coldest daytime high temperatures, and coldest early morning low temperatures which occurred with each of these 3 events. 



Lowest Wind Chill Values Coldest Daytime Temperatures Coldest Low Temperatures
1 Jan 5th: between -3 and 6 degrees  Jan 6th: 30 to 35 degrees

Jan 6th: 8 to 18 degrees

Jan 7th: 10 to 24 degrees

2 Jan 23rd: 5 to 15 degrees Jan 23rd: mostly in 30s, with lower to mid 40s in southeastern sections  Jan 24th: 9 to 24 degrees

Jan 28-29: mostly 0 to 10 degrees

Jan 27-28: 29 to 42 degrees (mostly in the 30s)

Jan 28th: 8-13 degrees across the Big Country   

Jan 29th: 5-15 degrees across most of west-central Texas   












Table 1:  Lowest Wind Chill Values, Coldest Daytime Temperatures, and Coldest Low Temperatures with 3 Strong Cold Waves in January.    

Some light wintry precipitation occurred with the 2nd event on the 23rd.  A mix of sleet and light snow occurred across the area southeast of a Menard to Brady to Richland Springs line, with minor accumulations.  With the 3rd event, patchy light sleet and snow occurred across the area generally southeast of a line from Ozona to Brady to Richland Springs, during the overnight hours of the 27th and 28th.  This precipitation was very light with no accumulation.  With the 3rd event, record low temperatures were tied at Abilene (10 degrees) on the 28th, and set at San Angelo (9 degrees) on the 29th.      

Other, weaker cold frontal passages also occurred during the month.

Despite the intrusions of very cold air, temperatures for the month averaged only slightly below normal. This was influenced by the well above normal high temperatures (in the 70s), which occurred on 12 days of the month in San Angelo and Junction, and on 7 days of the month at Abilene.  The warmest temperatures occurred on the 31st, when a dry airmass, south to southwest winds and considerable sunshine allowed temperatures to soar into the upper 70s to mid 80s for highs, across much of the area south of Interstate 20 and north of Interstate 10.

Dry airmasses occupied the region during the month.  With a lack of moisture, little or no precipitation occurred with the cold fronts and upper level disturbances entering the area. The combination of rather dry air and generally clear skies allowed for large temperature swings between the daytime highs and nighttime lows (more than 35 degrees) on a number of days. Gusty south to southwest winds occurred on a few days of the month.  Abilene recorded peak wind gusts of 41 mph on the 3rd, 43 mph on the 4th, 48 mph on the 30th, and 49 mph on the 12th.  San Angelo recorded peak wind gusts of 40 mph on the 3rd, 4th and 26th, 41 mph on the 30th, and 41 mph gusts from the north-northeast on the 1st and 20th.