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January 29, 2009

Weather Watch


By MARK HANOK

Although there’s no mild weather in sight, at least temperatures will be close to normal during the upcoming week.

The arctic cold air will stay well to the north, with a west to east zonal flow, a mainly dry weather pattern will through early next week in our region.

It looks like temperatures will average about four to five degrees below normal for January, so this will turn out to be the coldest January in six years.

The only day when temperatures got higher than the 30’s at our weather station in Otego, was on the 23rd when the high was 40 degrees.

The low was below zero on seven days this month, including minus 13 degrees on the 16th Otsego Lake was completely frozen on January 10th, and that’s the earliest since 2004 when the lake was frozen on the same date.

Otsego Lake hasn’t frozen earlier than January 10th since the lake froze on December 29, 2000. During the winter of 2000-2001, there was ice on the lake for 113 days, until April 21st. In 2007 Otsego Lake didn’t freeze over until February 12th but was frozen until April 23rd.

On Friday a northwesterly flow of moderately cold air will take over, with variable cloudiness and some sunshine along with a few snow showers; highs from 25 to 30 degrees.

As high pressure builds southward from the Great Lakes on Saturday, skies will be mostly sunny with highs again in the mid to upper 20’s.

As the high moves to the mid-Atlantic states and a southwest flow develops, highs will be in the middle 30’s with partly sunny skies on Sunday.

A weak low pressure trough will move north of our area on Monday, and skies will be partly sunny with a few snow showers; highs from 35 to 40 degrees. Northwesterly winds will bring seasonably cold air on Tuesday with partly sunny skies and highs in the low 30’s.

On Sunday an arctic high pressure area dipped southward to Virginia, while another arctic covered the northern Great Plains and upper Midwest, with a high of 1 degree at Glasgow, Montana, 1 below zero at International Falls and 8 degrees at Minneapolis.

Bitterly cold and extremely dry air was in place during the morning in our area, and the low was 10 degrees below zero at our weather station in Otego. Skies were sunny all morning, then high cloudiness took over in the early afternoon; highs in the upper teens.

On the southern fringe of the arctic high centered over the Dakotas on Monday, milder air well ahead of a storm system in western Colorado, lifted up and over the very cold air at the surface.

This combination led to a major ice storm from the Texas Panhandle through Oklahoma, northern Arkansas, southern Missouri, western Kentucky, and southern Illinois. It was no coincidence that in Otsego County it was the first completely sunny day since New Year’s Day. With extremely dry air and light winds, the low was 10 below zero for the second day at our weather station in Otego, then a high of 20 degrees. Mark Hanok is an Otegobased meteorologist.