Good-bye cold temps… here comes the warm-up

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – It has been a January of very cold temperatures here in Central Ohio, but that is about to change.  So far this month, six of our 16 days have had measurable snowfall as well, making for more than 9″ of snowfall already in January.

Snowier January 2018 than all of Winter 2016-17:

  • Winter of 2016-17 total snowfall <Oct-Apr>: 9.3″
  • January 2018 total snowfall <1st-16th>: 9.8″

Since 1885 when record keeping began here in Columbus for snowfall, this January already is the 43rd most snow on record.


Coldest January so far since 1970:

At 20.63° so far through 16 days this would mark the 10th coldest January on record here in Columbus.  This is more or less a sign of a very cold start to the month, but this will not hold, especially when we get into the next few weeks.


Big changes are on the way:

11 of the 16 days so far this month have had below normal temperatures, and the start of the month extended quite a cold streak that started around Christmas eve as numbers were just slightly below normal.  That 15 day streak of below normal temperatures included the start of the month when we were 25 & 27 degrees below normal the first few days.  We also recorded some of our coldest temperatures in a few years as well, including three straight mornings below zero.

Below is a graph of our average daily temperature for the month of January, including the forecast for the next week as well.

We are going to be cold again on Wednesday, especially to start the day, but after that we are going to pick ourselves up and pull out of the cellar.  By Friday we will be back close to normal for temperatures, but look what happens starting this weekend.  40s return to the forecast for our area!

By Sunday we will be building warmer and more moist air ahead of an incoming weak cold front.

The front will push through with rain for next Monday, but we should still have warm air sticking around for Monday with highs close to 50 still.

Once the front comes through, it will knock temperatures down a bit, but it will not be a polar front, so this boundary should knock temperatures down a bit closer to normal, but not make it cold, especially when compared to the start of this month.  By mid-week we will start to recover with warmer temperatures kicking back up into our area.

By the last weekend of the month, we will see another big warm-up ahead of a bit of a stronger cold front.  This along with the loss of snow pack should make for a very warm Sunday ahead of the front.  Look at how warm our longer range models have us getting by next weekend.


First things first, lets work on the snow pack!

As experienced today, we had plenty of afternoon sunshine here in Columbus, and temperatures barely budged.  Besides a very cold airmass in place, we have a thick snow pack of 5″ or greater in spots, and that is helping to reflect the sun’s energy.  Also, the sun will continue to work on that snow pack and melt it more and more every day.

The entire state has some snow cover today but above freezing temperatures and sunshine should help melt our snow this week/weekend.

Hours above freezing the next few days:

  • Wednesday: 0, some sun
  • Thursday: 0, lots of sun
  • Friday: 5-6 hours, lots of sun
  • Saturday: 16 hours, some sun
  • Sunday: 24 hours, rain later
  • Monday: 24 hours, rain likely
  • Tuesday: 18-20 hours, sun & cloudsPreview (opens in a new window)

Really, we could end up having a period of about 65-68 straight hours above freezing starting Saturday – early Tuesday morning, along with rain, this will melt most of our snowfall.


Longer range outlooks showing better odds for a warmer finish to the month

While the east suffered through a cold finish to December and a cold start to January, the latest outlook is warmer for the east to finish January.  Below are the 6-10 and the 8-14 day outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center.

Notice where the best chances for above normal temperatures are.  That even includes us in Ohio.  Now this should be noted that below normal temperatures will occur within these outlooks, but the average should be above normal for the periods.

Above the 6-10 looks very warm for the east, but moderating temperatures will cool things a touch, but still keep us above normal (below) for the 8-14, week 2 forecast.


If you ever have questions about forecast, climate, or any other weather/science questions, email me,

-Dave provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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