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Good Question: Has This January Been Worse Than Most?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This January, several Minnesota schools closed schools five times due to extreme wind chills.

The average temperature has hovered around 10 degrees and it has snowed 22.6 inches. But how that does compared with Januaries past?

“We are colder than normal, but it’s nothing extremely record-breaking,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Lisa Schmidt.

The National Weather Service began keeping records in 1881. This January’s average of 10.3 degrees puts it as the 27th coldest winter. But narrow that timeframe down to the past 30 years and January 2014 comes in second, behind January 1994 (avg: 4.3 degrees).

“We’ve been spoiled with the past few winters, I believe,” said Gary Kipling of St. Paul.

The average in January 2006 was 28.6 degrees, but was 10.9 in 2009. Schmidt says this January could feel colder because the Twin Cities metro area has had 19 wind chill advisories – double the normal average. She also said many of the high temperatures have occurred after midnight when most people are inside.

“We’ve hit 32 degrees at nighttime a lot more than we have in the daytime,” Schmidt said.

And then there has been the snow. At 22.6 inches, the Twin Cities metro area is 8 inches above a normal January. This month has been the second snowiest January in the past 30 years and the seventh snowiest since 1884.

“We’re not actually that far away from a normal winter,” she said, adding she expects the cold weather to persist through at least Valentine’s Day.

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