Weather Fundamentals

The Seasons

What is a January thaw

Mostly seen in the northeastern United States and in the United Kingdom, a January thaw is a brief mid-winter period—usually late in the month—in which temperatures moderate somewhat. The Midwest can also experience such thaws, occasionally with startling changes in temperature. For example, in January 1992, northwestern Iowa had a January thaw in which temperatures rose from –60°F (-51°C) to above freezing in just two weeks. While the change was a welcome one for many people, the thaw sadly melted the giant ice palace sculpture that had been on display for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.


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