MASSENA - Approximately one third of Januarys 31 days this year featured temperatures falling below zero in St. Lawrence County, and four of those days saw at least 24 straight hours when the temperature never reached postive numbers.
The start of 2014 may not have seen has much snow as typically occurs in the north country, but average temperatures for the month were below normal.
There were 11 days in January where the thermometer dipped below 0 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, Burlington, Vt. The record was 24 days below 0 in January 1994.
As far as the days staying below zero, the normal is one and the record was seven in 2004. The average temperature for (January) was 13.6 degrees and the normal is 14.5. So we were just about one degree colder, meteorologist Michael Muccilli said.
Mr. Muccilli added that Massenas lowest temperature record for Jan. 22 was broken that day this winter when a figure of 30 below zero was observed at Massena International Airport.
As far as snow accumulations, this past month was significantly lighter than past Januarys. The general county wide snow total was about one foot. There were 10 inches total in Canton and 15 inches in Gouverneur. The normal for the county is around 20 inches in January, Mr. Muccilli said. It was definitely drier and less snow than normal. As far as temperatures, it was slightly cooler and it was definitely a month of extremes. We also had that January thaw that happened for a week or so where it was in the 50s. Even though it averages out, it was very up and down.
Residents in Massena are already dreaming about the end of winter, often felt to be the longest season. It has also been a tough month for employees who earn their living working outside.
Crews have continued work on the Tim Hortons restaurant on Main Street in Massena throughout the cold stretch.
Most of the guys have worked inside during those (below zero) temperatures. Weve been lucky enough to have our inside work and then head back outside during the nicer weather. Weve balanced it well,. Heritage Homes Inc. Vice President Jon Maginn said.
Its made it very difficult for all of us to work with the conditions being the way they are. ... For construction, this has been the worst month I have ever seen weather wise. Its been rough on the people and when it gets to the point where were building something like (Tim Hortons) or any type of construction, everything takes twice as long and it takes twice as much money.
Meanwhile, Bill Eldridge from Heritage Homes said that he doesnt mind the frequently uncomfortable conditions.
Its been absolutely wonderful. Were living in a winter wonderland, Mr.l Eldridge said. If you dont at least get out and do something, youre going to go crazy. So the biggest thing about it is, Im working. Cold or not, Im working.
Tomorrow not only brings us Super Bowl Sunday, but Groundhog Day as well - the one day every year that can bring anti-winter people out of their homes to rejoice or back inside their shelters to wait out a longer than anticipated winter.
Compared to the past couple of weeks, (February) will definitely start on the milder side, but there is a better chance of snow. We will probably get some snow late (today) into Sunday. Then we may see some more flurries next week starting on the 5th. It will be more a more active weather pattern, but not as cold, Mr. Muccilli said.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for one to three inches of snow after 2 p.m. Saturday and an additional two to four inches of snow and sleet on Sunday. The Weather Channel is predicting snow accumulations of less than an inch on Saturday and Sunday for the region.