C-U's mild winter its 8th warmest so far

CHAMPAIGN — More than two-thirds of the way through the season, Champaign-Urbana is enjoying its eighth-warmest winter on record, according to the Illinois State Water Survey.

Through December and January, said state climatologist Jim Angel, the average temperature has been a mild 33.7 degrees. The all-time record is 38 degrees in December 1888 and January 1889.

Proof, though, that two mild months does not a mild winter make: February 1889's mean temperature was 5.5 degrees below zero. And of the top 10 warmest December/January periods locally, four followed with Februarys that were colder than normal.

"Personally, I'm not putting the snow shovel and winter boots away just yet," Angel said.

January's average temperature was 31.7 degrees, or 6.9 degrees above normal. The average high last month was 41, 8.1 degrees greater than normal. There was one day with a high above 60 (61 on the 31st), seven with highs in the 50s and nine with highs in the 40s.

The coldest temperature was 4 degrees on Jan. 14. There hasn't been a zero or subzero day yet this winter.

The last mild December/January period wasn't that long ago: 2001 when the average temperature was 34.4 degrees, good enough for sixth warmest.

But all of the top 5 warm December/January combinations were more than 50 years ago: in 1889, 1931, 1949, 1913 and 1918.

Snowfall so far this winter totals 7.9 inches. Normal through January is 14.3 inches.

"If we never saw another snowfall this year," Angel said, "it would be the fourth smallest winter snowfall total on record. As it stands, it's the 24th least snowiest winter through January."

Average snowfall locally in February is 5.8 inches.

Total precipitation in Champaign-Urbana in January was 3.17 inches, which is more than an inch above normal. Last month in central Illinois, according to the National Weather Service, it was significantly wetter in eastern Illinois than west of the Illinois River. Precipitation totals of 3 inches to 4 inches were common east of Interstate 57, while an inch or less fell west of the Illinois River.

Throughout central Illinois, according to the weather service, temperatures were 5 to 7 degrees above normal in January.

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