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Record broken for January snowfall in Detroit

Detroit broke another weather record for precipitation today.

Record snows in the midwest and northeast have snarled traffic, such as seen here in New York City.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

As if 2013 being the wettest year in Michigan history was not enough, Accuweather reports that last night's snowfall brought the total for January so far to 31.3 inches, while the Detroit Free Press is reporting 31.5 inches so far. Either total beats the previous record for the month of 29.6 inches set in January 1978 by almost two inches. To add more perspective, the snowfall for this month is about a foot-and-one-half above the January average of 12.5 inches.

Don't get too attached to the current snowfall total. There are six more days left in the month and the National Weather Service predicts another weather system will bring one to two inches to the area on Sunday.

Currently, January 2014 is the fourth snowiest month ever for Detroit, having beaten not only January 1978, but also March 1900, which had 30.7 inches. The snowfall total is within a fraction of an inch of passing February 2011's 31.7 inches for third place, something that could happen tomorrow. It is less likely to exceed the 34.9 inches that fell during February 1974 and even less probable that this month will replace February 1908, which had 38.4 inches for the snowiest month ever for Detroit.

Not only has it been a record snow for the month, the total accumulation has already passed the average for winter as a whole. Normally, 42.7 inches of snow falls for the entire winter. Last night's storm brought the seasonal total to 48.2 inches, with two months still to go.

It also has been a very cold month. One week into the month, National Weather Service predicted that this January was on track to be among the twenty coldest and possibly among the ten most frigid for Detroit. WXYZ has estimated, based on the temperatures recorded so far plus the forecast temperatures for the rest of the month, that this month will end up tied with January 1875 for the fourth coldest January on record, averaging 15.3 degrees. That is 2.5 degrees warmer than the coldest January ever for Detroit, January 1977 with 12.8 degrees.

Detroit has plenty of company among Midwestern cities for snow and cold. According to Accuweather, Toledo, Ohio has recorded 33.1 inches for the month so far. The Toledo Blade reported that this is not only a record for January, but makes this month the snowiest ever for the Glass City. According to UPI, Fort Wayne has also experienced its snowiest January ever with 26.4 inches, only three inches below the record for any month of 29.5 inches. National Weather Service records show that Flint was only 1.8 inches away from its record on Friday, and recorded another 2.5 inches overnight, so it has joined the rest in breaking records.

Other Midwestern cities may join Detroit and the rest in record snow. Chicago is only 1.7 inches away from beating the Windy City's snowiest January ever. Finally, the Indianapolis Star reports that the most recent storm has given Indianapolis its second snowiest January and fourth snowiest month ever and that the record for snowiest January and month ever is within reach.

UPDATE: Not only has this been the snowiest January in Detroit, but it is now the snowiest month ever in the Motor City. Please read January 2013 snowiest month in Detroit history for the details on this developing story.

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