What winter? Seattle ties 3rd-warmest January at Sea-Tac


    Sun splashes off Downtown Seattle skyscrapers in January, 2019. (Photo: Jim Burns)

    SEATTLE -- Did it kind of feel like winter took the month of January off? Maybe it was saving its energy for the Midwest and East Coast? Because winter-type weather was in short supply around the Seattle area this year.

    The Emerald City ended up with an average high temperature of 51.1 degrees in January -- tied for the 3rd warmest on record at Sea-Tac Airport (since 1945) and tied for 4th if we include the Federal Building data that goes back to 1894. The average high in January is 47.2. In fact, this past month would be considered above average for February as well.

    If you want to go by average temperature, which is the average of the average high and low, Seattle comes in at 45.0 -- a tie for 6th for Sea-Tac; 10th including Federal Building. The year we tied with? 2018. Yep, we've had back-to-back identical 45.0 degree Januarys. Weird.

    We were behind on the rainfall too, finishing up the month at 3.83 inches, nearly 2 inches below our average of 5.77 inches.

    A warmer and drier than average January? Chalk up a win for the 30- and 90-day forecasts that accurately predicted so as we anticipated a weak El Nino winter. (Although technically, we still remain just a hair under the official criteria for being in El Nino. The winter so far is still classified as neutral, though we're still likely to hit official El Nino status soon.)

    But warmth aside, psychologically speaking it might have seemed like a tame January due to lack of relentless storms. The month "only" had 15 days of measurable rain with nine of them over 0.10 inches. Seattle also only officially notched 13 overcast days. Usually both those numbers are in the low 20s. The month had two 6-day stretches of dry weather.

    As you might have heard though, February is seemingly working on making up for lost time. Much colder weather is expected for the start of next week with long range models suggesting an extended period of below-normal temperatures.

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