January weather in Detroit: 12th hottest, 6th wettest on record
Detroit — The first month of the new decade was one of the warmest, ranking the 12th-hottest and sixth-wettest on record for the city, and the second day of second month beat a record set in 1983 by one degree, according to the National Weather Service.
The weather service recorded 53 degrees at about 4 p.m. Sunday, breaking a record set in 1983 of 52. Normal temperature for the time of year is 33. Temperatures are expected to drop to a high of 44 on Monday and a chance of rain, and 37 on Tuesday with another chance of snow Tuesday night.
The average temperature for January was 32.4 degrees Fahrenheit, 6.8 degrees above normal, said Steve Considine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township. The tie for the warmest January in Detroit, at 36.7 degrees, first happened in 1880 and again in 1932. The third warmest is 35.3 degrees in 2006.
"This winter is just essential because of the prevailing weather patterns. We had the core of the artic air locked north, which is typical for a mild winter to remain locked in Alaska or northern Canada," Considine said. "We had a more mild air mass come from the pacific. It led to good warm periods like Jan. 9-11."
Jan. 11 was the warmest day of the month when the city hit 55 degrees. It was also the day with the most rainfall, at 2.6 inches.
The total liquid precipitation was 4.12 inches — 2.16 inches above average, making it the sixth-wettest on record, Considine said. The wettest was 5.02 inches in 1932.
"What is interesting is not only were we mild, but we were wet, not only because of snow but quite a lot of rain," he said. "The wettest day was the same day it was the hottest ... That amount of rain in one day is common in the warm season, but really uncommon to get that much in the middle of winter."
Detroit saw 9.7 inches of snow, and while below average, that's not even close to the bottom 20 for snowless winters. The record for the least amount of snow in January is 0.4 inches set in 1933.
It's ironic, he said, because on Feb. 1, 2015, a snowstorm for the record books — 16.7 inches, the third-largest — blanketed the Great Lakes region.
Looking ahead, February is expected to receive more snow, Considine said. Last February, Detroit saw 7.3 inches of snowfall compared to 23 inches in February 2018.