• Regionally, last month tied with 2003 as the driest January on record for the Southwest. Its January precipitation of 0.23 inches was nearly 0.7 inches below the 20th century average. The West also had very low precipitation, resulting in its eighth-driest January.

January precipitation "statewide ranks" maps are available at the NCDC site.

U.S. Climate: Three and Twelve-Month Trends

• The Southeast experienced its seventh coolest November-January period on record. Five states had near-record cool temperatures: Georgia (fourth coolest), North Carolina (fifth), South Carolina (sixth), Florida (eighth) and West Virginia (ninth).

• From February 2010-January 2011, average temperatures set records for warmth in Maine (3.5 F above normal), New Hampshire (3.1 F above normal) and Rhode Island (3.1 F above normal and tied with 2002). Eight other states in the Northeast and Great Lakes areas averaged a temperature for the period among their 10 warmest. The Northeast experienced its fourth warmest such period.

• January extended a pattern of continued dryness and expanding drought across a wide band of the southern United States. Four states experienced record drought for the November-January period: North Carolina (third), South Carolina (fourth), Arkansas (seventh) and New Mexico (ninth). Average precipitation in Montana (eighth wettest) and North Dakota (10th wettest) was much above normal.

• From February 2010-January 2011, the Southeast climate region had its 10th driest 12-month period on record. Within the climate region, Georgia and South Carolina had their seventh and eighth driest such periods, respectively. The South was also very dry: Arkansas (fourth driest), Louisiana (seventh) and Mississippi (ninth). In contrast, many northern locations have seen a very wet 12-month period. North Dakota (6.3 inches above normal) had its wettest such period, while Iowa (11.6 inches above normal) and Minnesota (7.8 inches above normal) had their second wettest.  

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.