January Weather a Rollercoaster Ride

Whatcom County experienced extreme low and record-breaking high temperatures throughout January. Heavy snowfall mid-month temporarily brought the county to a halt. The month ended with communities along the Nooksack river on flood watch or experiencing moderate flooding.

Official data for the month shows a record breaking 68 degrees on January 29, beating the previous record of 63 degrees. The temperatures from January 11 – 13 were some of the coldest on record, hitting 9, 3 and 7 degrees respectively. Total rainfall was 6.72 inches, more than two inches above average for the month.

On January 11, extreme low temperatures and winds gusting up to 60 mph hit the whole county. The extreme cold lingered for ten days, hitting a low of 3 degrees Fahrenheit on January 12. As temperatures rose to the mid-20s on Jan. 16 snow began to fall. The snowstorm left heavy accumulations across the county overnight. Small flurries continued through Jan. 17. Unofficial reports indicate up to 16 inches accumulated in some parts of the county.

According to Whatcom County Weather, “Whatcom County was the epicenter of this event for Western Washington.”

The snow closed schools and many businesses and brought the WTA and Sanitary Service to a temporary halt. Schools remained closed through Friday, Jan. 18.

Late on Friday afternoon, temperatures rose to freezing accompanied by sleet and freezing rain. Most areas of the county had reached 40 degrees or above by Saturday. Temperatures continued to rise over the following week, accompanied by heavy rain.

The snow level rose to 7000 ft and temperatures at Mt. Baker Ski Area reached 53 degrees. Over a period of five days (Jan. 25 – 30), the ski area lost over two feet of snow at their base. Due to continued rainfall and rapid snow melt run-off a flood watch was issued.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the area early on January 28. In Ferndale, the Nooksack River crested at 18.5 feet. The cities of Everson, Nooksack and Ferndale experienced moderate flooding. No serious damage was reported. By January 31, the river was receding, temperatures had dropped back into the 40s and the rain had let up.

However, winter is not over yet.


Weather and flood stage data and information is courtesy of Whatcom County Weather, the National Weather Service at Bellingham National Airport, Northwest Avalanche Center and the City of Ferndale.

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