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January Makes Weather History in Attleboro

Last month was one of the warmest ever, but the National Weather Service is predicting a "sluggish" start to spring.

 

FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

January made history with it weather in Attleboro and in most of the United States.

A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in State College, PA., has identified January 2012 as the fourth-warmest January on record for the contiguous United States.

In the contiguous U.S., the average temperature for January was 36.3°F which is 5.5°F above normal range. This makes the month not only the fourth warmest of its kind in history, but also the warmest since 2006.

Snow is predicted for Saturday, up to two-four inches in Attleboro, according to lastest weather reports. So far, there has been no recorded snowfall in February.

"It's warmer this year mainly because of the jet stream pattern," said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Michael Pigott. "Generally, for the most part of the winter, it has been on a west-to-east pattern. Meteorologists refer to this as a 'zonal flow.' Essentially, we've seen a lot of storms moving from west to east, and not a lot traveling northward or southward. So, anything in the Arctic is staying up there, and anything in the U.S. is staying put as well. If you have north-to-south undulations in the jet stream, you do get warmer air heading northward to the poles, and colder air comes down toward the U.S. from the Arctic."

Nine states recorded their top 10 warmest average temperatures for January in 2012: Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Kansas.

It has also been the fifth-warmest, six-month period from August 2011 to January 2012 ever recorded in the contiguous U.S. Forty states have had warmer-than-average temperatures.

In addition to a warm January in 2012, it has also been dry. In fact, the contiguous U.S. has seen its 28th-driest January in recorded history.

The warm trend may continue through the end of February and into March, but temperatures are not expected to be as high as they were in January.

"It looks like the pattern will be similar for most of the country, but not to the same extent," said AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston. "We are getting in a pattern where we're more susceptible to cold air masses coming down. However, that doesn't mean they're going to stay. They're still going to be progressive. That means cooler temperatures will come in for only a few days, then disappear again."

Intermittent stretches of cooler air will bring overall average temperatures closer to normal for the months ahead.

"The average will be somewhat above normal, though it won't be as above normal as January. But, it will be closer to normal," added Boston.

Boston also stated that he thinks temperatures in the Northeast will begin to drop "just in time for spring."

"Unfortunately, I can see a pattern developing where we will have cooler-than-normal weather in the Northeast starting later in March and continuing through April. We expect blocking to develop in the atmosphere," continued Boston. "Basically, that means we'll see cooler air steered down into the eastern U.S. more frequently. I think that may be setting up in late March and into April, making the arrival of spring a little bit sluggish."


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