By Errol Castens
TUPELO – If you felt colder last month than in a very long time, it probably wasn’t your imagination.
The first month of 2014 was the eighth-coldest January on record for Tupelo and the coldest since 1985. The National Weather Service weather recording site registered an average temperature for the month of 35.3 degrees – a full 6.4 degrees below normal.
While Tupelo actually reached 66 degrees on Jan. 20, the low on three mornings reached single digits, bottoming out at 6 degrees on Jan. 24 and Jan. 29. Oxford, 50 miles west of Tupelo, reached 1 degree on Jan. 29.
Of the month’s 31 days, 25 reached freezing or below. Even so, only three times was the daily high below freezing.
The Tupelo monitoring site also recorded less than 40 percent of its average January precipitation. Among Mid-South sites monitored by the National Weather Service – including Memphis and Jackson, Tenn., and Jonesboro, Ark. – Tupelo had the greatest departure from normal precipitation with only 1.77 inches of rain during January – 2.71 inches below the normal of 4.48 inches. The precipitation total includes traces of snow recorded on three different days.
As a result, 2014 was the seventh-driest January on record for Tupelo. January’s precipitation measurements highlight just how varied rainfall can be within a region: Memphis, 100 miles to the northwest, had nearly twice as much rain as Tupelo did.