Most years at this time I am thick in the middle of weather speculating. Looking at long-range forecasts. Prognosticating. Making things up.
This year? There’s a five day window for the Birkie. Lots of us (me included) are skiing virtually. And the weather looks good: a cold, hard base and no big warmups in sight.
One interesting note is the bend-but-don’t-break characteristics of the past two Januarys. The last two Januarys have seen temperatures 7 and 8 degrees above normal in Duluth (which has a longer record than Hayward, but is similar) but rather than some cold days which melt a lot of snow and then some cold snaps, the weather was mostly just pleasant.
This isn’t exactly normal. The Northwoods are home to large temperature swings, yet in Hayward the temperature during the first half of the month 2 to 36. No deep freeze, but minimal melting. It got colder later in the month (one night dropped to -16) but no day failed to hit 10 all month, while no day rose above 36. You can’t melt much snow at 36 in January.
This is similar to last January. The temperature never passed 34 in January of 2020, but it did go above freezing several days. In fact, high temperatures the past two years have only been 4 or 5 degrees above normal, with lows 10 degrees higher. In fact, since 1998, there have only been 10 Januarys without a day above 40; the past two years both qualify despite being well above average.
February, of course, is off to a different start, and not in a bad, 1998-style way (with all but one day above freezing that month in Hayward, and somehow the Birkie still sort of ran). The temperature hasn’t been above 0 since the 5th, and it looks like a solid two weeks below 10, with several days staying below zero. Good to get that out of the system now, especially with the mostly self-supported race. The latter two weeks look milder, but I don’t see anything on the horizon to melt or wash away the snow.
But, stay tuned for occasional updates.