Baby, it’s staying cold outside

January temps below normal

By David J. Coehrs -

Wind chill values could be dangerously low at times.

Wind chill values could be dangerously low at times.

NWS graphic

The chill of the last week could be here a little longer. The arctic air currently dominating the Swanton area’s weather doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon, although it may occasionally waver.

The Canadian cold front pushing temperatures down in the daytime and possibly to single digits at night will linger through January, bringing with it readings in the teens and low 20s. Northern Indiana National Weather Service meteorologist Megan Dodson said the last couple of weather systems that have breezed through the area opened up the floodgates for a northern jet stream to move further south.

What that will allow is a series of low pressure systems followed by high pressure systems from Canada that are dropping temperatures uncomfortably low.

“This is pretty normal for this time of year as far as the patterns go, but it’s a little bit colder than we saw in December,” Dodson said. “We had a nice winter last year, so I guess we’ve got to pay the price.”

The record low of 8 degrees below zero was tied at Toledo Express Airport on Thursday.

The weather outlook shows 40 percent chance of below-average temperatures throughout the whole of January. Normal daytime temperatures in the low 30s will likely give way to a more arctic blast of bitter cold.

“We might have some variations but it won’t be anything dramatic,” Dodson said. She said the January weather definitely won’t mimic that of last January, when month-end temperatures topped out between 40 degrees and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The present air mass in northwest Ohio is a continental arctic air mass, meaning it originates over land in the earth’s arctic region. When it travels south it brings very dry, cold air, in this case from the west-northwest.

Dodson said what’s even more chilling is a 33 percent chance of northwest Ohio seeing below normal temperatures, with possible day-to-day variations, over the next three months.

She said while northwest Ohioans brace for the bitter weather they should remember that it’s been worse. The Januaries in 1912, 1940, and 1978 saw 14 straight days of temperatures below 25 degrees. The coldest January days recorded have been Jan. 19, 1994, with a high temperature at minus-6 degrees and Jan. 25, 1897, at minus-2 degrees.

Dodson said the most simple mistake people make in the midst of below normal temperatures and frigid wind chills is thinking they’re hardier than they are.

“People, when they’re busy, the only time they think about it is when it actually impacts them,” she said. “It’s checking before they go out. It’s making sure you’re dressed appropriately and having a weather kit in the car.”

When temperatures are in the teens, a person can get frostbite in less than 30 minutes unless they’re protected.

“That’s when you can get into trouble. You don’t realize it can get kind of dangerous,” she said. “People generally don’t think about it being that bad. They need to keep it in the back of their minds.”

Wind chill values could be dangerously low at times. chill values could be dangerously low at times. NWS graphic
January temps below normal

By David J. Coehrs