January Thaw?


On Jan. 20 there was still ice covering the pond. By Sunday there was no trace of it.

With no snow on the ground and temperatures well above normal, area residents may wonder if this is what is called a January Thaw or just another example of our not-so-wintry winters.

An article by Jaime McLeod at farmersalmanac.com described a January Thaw as a period when winter briefly loosens its icy grip.

Which doesn’t really seem to describe the weather as of late as winter seems to have trouble gripping at all. A strong grip for a few days and then is seems that winter doesn’t have a hold on things at all.

McLeod went on to state that a January Thaw usually lasts for a week with temperatures that are 10 degrees higher than the previous week and then temps drop back down just in time for the arrival of Groundhog Day at the beginning of February.


Bubbles are seen on a creek where ice used to be.

An article titled “‘January Thaw’: Is It a Real Thing or a Coincidence?” by Chrissy Warrilow on weather.com,  said the thaw occurs around the Jan. 20-24 time frame and that it doesn’t happen every year.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service office in Pittsburgh mentioned a January Thaw in a Facebook post earlier this month.

The office also noted Pittsburgh’s temp on Jan. 19, 1994, was a high of 3 degrees with a low of -22. It posted on Jan. 19, that highs for the weekend were forecast to be 25 to 30 degrees above normal.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, the office offered a look at highs in the region. It posted the following numbers:
“Records for our climate sites are:
74 for Pittsburgh, PA (1906)
73 for Morgantown, WV (1959)
65 for Zanesville, OH (1959)
50 for Dubois, PA (2006) *exceeded*
54 for Wheeling, WV (2006) *exceeded*
65 for New Philadelphia, OH (1974)”


Ernie, Wiggles, Timus and Buttons were able to enjoy the view through the screen door as warm weather took hold this past weekend.



Buford would like Timus removed from the porch so he can look out the screen door alone.

However, despite a warm weekend the region saw cooler temperatures on Monday with the weather service warning that winter cold may return by the end of the week.

January Thaw or not, the region saw the snow melt and the rivers rise.


Sherman decided it was warm enough to go wading this weekend.

Meanwhile, the daily walkers have been slogging through the mud and jumping creeks that are not frozen.

Unfortunately, the critters are also bringing with them a multitude of ticks since there is no snow pack to keep the nasty little buggers at bay. Ticks are the critters that we don’t care to see on our daily walks.


A long exposure shows off the critters’ new lighted collars. Kyle is in blue, Kennedy in green, Buford in orange and Sherman in red.


(A Walk in the Woods contains photos from newsroom staffer Anna Applegate’s daily jaunts around her neck of the woods. Tagging along on the treks are dogs, Buford and Sherman, and goats, Kyle and Kennedy. Applegate manages the Good Times and can be emailed at bigdogs.thederrick@gmail.com.)