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January 2014 snowiest month in Detroit history

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Yet another Detroit weather record fell this morning.

First, last year was the wettest in Michigan history. Then, Detroit broke its record for January snowfall. Now, this month is not only the snowiest January in the Motor City's history, but its snowiest month ever recorded.

As of 7:00 A.M., the National Weather Service office in White Lake measured 39.1 inches of snow falling at Metro Airport. Not only is that 9.5 inches more than the previous record for the month of 29.6 inches set in 1978, but more than half an inch greater than the previous maximum for the most snowfall in a month of 38.4 inches, set 106 years ago in February 1908.

Flint joined Detroit in setting a new record for the month. The monthly total at Flint Bishop Airport this morning stood at 32.9 inches, which not only shattered the old mark of 28.5 inches for January, set in 1976, but is now the second snowiest month, behind only December 2000 with 35.3 inches.

Both cities' snowfall totals could increase, as there are still several hours left in the day and snow is predicted to fall overnight.

The month just ending has not only been snowy, it's been cold. As of the 29th, January 2013 has been the sixth coldest January on record for both Detroit and Flint. It's also been the eighth coldest month ever for Motown, while it's the ninth coldest for Flint.

The average temperature for Detroit this month so far is 15.9 degrees, the coldest January since 1977, when the average temperature was 12.8 degrees. As for the coldest month ever recorded, that happened all the way back in February 1875, when the average was a frigid 12.2 degrees.

Flint is farther from its record, as that city's 15.1 degrees is almost five degrees above the 10.9 degrees set in January 1977, that city's coldest month ever.

The January total is not the only record setter for snow in Detroit. This has been the fastest start to the snow season ever, with 55.0 inches fallen so far since November. The next snowiest beginning to winter came in November 1977-January 1978, when the previous record of 53.6 inches fell.

Also, the fourth and fifth snowiest 30-day periods in Detroit history occurred during the January just ended. The fifth snowiest ended on January 6th with 37.3 inches, while the fourth snowiest ended on January 28th with 29.9 inches. Both stretches encompassed the eight days during which winter storms Hercules and Ion hit Detroit, but those two storms had help. The first consecutive 30 days had significant snowfall on December 14th and 15th, while the second included 8.8 inches that fell from January 25-27.

It should come as no surprise that, as the Detroit News reported, Wayne County's salt truck drivers have had only five days off out of the past forty.

As for the three snowiest 30-day periods, they all either began or ended in February, suggesting that the worst may be yet to come. The forecast for tonight and tomorrow bears that out, with four to seven inches of snow predicted to fall by Sunday morning. Expect the salt trucks and snow plows to remain busy.

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