Expect a January that's colder and wetter than usual in the Tri-Cities, said the National Weather Service.
Normal highs for the Tri-Cities in January are 41.5 degrees and normal lows are 29.4 degrees. Normal precipitation is 1.08 inches.
The past year was cooler and drier than usual for the Mid-Columbia, as measured at the Hanford Meteorology Station 25 miles northwest of Richland.
Precipitation totaled 4.45 inches, making 2011 the seventh driest year at Hanford since records began being kept in 1945. Usual annual precipitation at Hanford is 7.14 inches.
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In the Tri-Cities, precipitation in 2011 totaled 5.24 inches, which was 2.49 inches below normal. The water year, which starts in October, also has been dry. The Tri-Cities had recorded 0.7 inch, which is 2.03 inches below normal.
Temperatures averaged 52.2 degrees for 2011 at Hanford, which is below the normal of 53.9 degrees. The hottest temperature recorded at Hanford was 100 degrees on Aug. 27 and 28 and Sept. 11 and 12. The coldest temperature was 2 degrees on Feb. 26.
December was slightly cooler than usual in the Tri-Cities and at Hanford despite the warm end to the month. There also was less precipitation than usual.
At Hanford, two daily temperature records were tied and one was set. Dec. 28 had the warmest low temperature on the record at 48 degrees. The old record was 46 degrees set in 1998. The high that day tied the record of 59 degrees, also set in 1998.
On Dec. 29, the low was 41 degrees, tying the record for the warmest low set in 1998 at Hanford.
In the Tri-Cities, the average temperature was 33.6 degrees as measured in Kennewick, which was 0.8 degree below normal.
High temperatures averaged 40.3 degrees, which was 0.4 degree above normal. The highest temperature was 62 degrees on Dec. 29.
Low temperatures averaged 26.9 degrees, which was 1.9 degrees below normal. The lowest was 18 degrees on Dec. 23.
The peak wind gust in the Tri-Cities, as measured in Kennewick in December, was 47 mph on Dec. 28. The peak wind gust at Hanford was 48 mph on Dec. 29.