A Milder January in the Midwest, but Still Some Snow

February 9, 2023 // Article by: Shawn McGarrity


The first month of 2023 saw temperatures trend warmer than normal for the Chicagoland area. The average high temperature was 37.5°F (up from the normal 31.6°), the average low 27.1° (normally 18.8°), and the overall average temperature was 32.3° (normal  25.2°). January also fell short of snowfall averages, with 9.9” being measured (normal 11.3”). Despite the below average snowfall, overall precipitation finished a few tenths of an inch above normal, with 2.60” of precipitation compared to the normal 1.99”.

Showers and thunderstorms were in the area to kick off the New Year as temperatures were in the 40s for the first few days of the month. Another round of thunderstorms returned on the 3rd that produced decent rainfall (1.12” was measured at O’Hare, the wettest day of the month). The passage of these storms saw a return to more winter-like temperatures, with snow showers passing through on the 5th that brought a couple tenths of an inch of snow to the region.

A drier period then followed that continued through the 11th, during which time temperatures warmed into the upper 50s on the 11th. This stretch of mild temperatures came to an end shortly after, with a return to seasonable levels as snow showers developed in the area on both the 12th and 13th.

By the middle of the month the weather pattern became more varied, as a disturbance brought rain to the Chicagoland area on the 18th and 19th and temps in the 50s. Colder air managed to arrive in areas north of the city during the system, with wet snow being reported in the northwestern suburbs. Temperatures continued to cool in the subsequent days, with highs returning to the 30s.

The final third of the month saw a return to typical winter weather, with several systems bringing over an inch of snow each beginning the 22nd and again the 25th. The former of these two events brought 1.5” to O’Hare with upward of 2” in areas to the northwest of the metropolitan area. Several days later, the 25th snowstorm brought the most snow of the month; with 3.5” were reported in Chicago itself and some locations west of the city measuring over 4”. Less eventful snow showers persisted in the following days, gradually adding a few tenths of an inch of snow to the monthly total.

One final wintry event came on the 28th, bringing with it a wintry mix to Chicago and all snow in areas further north near the WI border. Chicago managed to accumulate 2.3” inches of snow by the storm’s end, with more substantial totals in Rockford reaching up to 7”. A few snow shower events persisted in the days that followed as colder air held for the remainder of January, as highs struggled to get out of the teens.

Recap of January 28th snow event. Courtesy of NWS Chicago.


January trended warmer than normal, with an average high temperature of 43.2°F (normal 36.1°F), an average low of 30.9°F (normal 20.9°F), and an overall average of 37.1°F (normal 28.5°F). In addition to warmer-than-normal temperatures, snowfall also fell short of normal, with 4.1” being recorded compared to the normal 8.8”. Despite the below normal snowfall, overall precipitation ended up a bit higher than the average, with 3.97” of precipitation being measured, up from the normal 3.12”.

The month started off warm with high temperatures in the 50s. A system passing through the night of the 2nd into the 3rd brought with it rain and storms to the Indianapolis area that produced 0.85” of rainfall. The 3rd also marked the warmest day of the month for the city, with daytime highs reaching 63°F. Milder temperatures held on a few more days before cooling to the 30s beginning on the 5th, during which time a weak system brought rain and snow showers. 

This return to more winter-like conditions did not last long, as milder air in the 50s returned on the 10th. Things remained dry for a few days following a weak system on the 5th before a new disturbance on the 12th brought with it rain and storms. While temperatures were warm enough throughout much of the event to keep activity as rain, colder air filtered on the backside that allowed for some mixed precipitation on the 13th. Even so, this cold spell was short-lived, as above-average temperatures returned once again on the 16th.

Rain overspread the region on the 18th, bringing with it the rainiest day of the month for Indianapolis, which reported an inch of rainfall. Storms passed through the following day, ushering in colder air that supported some backend snow showers.

The final third of the month, allowed for a brief return to winter normalcy as temperatures held in the 30s for several days. During this period, a minor light snow event passed through on the 22nd before a more substantial snow storm on the 25th, bringing with it 2 - 4" of snow for central Indiana. The closing week of January saw another mild period with a few rain showers at times. Temperatures fell to the 20s by the 30th, which turned things a bit icy during the morning from residual dampness. A few snow showers managed to pass through the vicinity as well, before things dried out for the 31st with temperatures remaining cold.

Estimated snowfall from January 25th event. Courtesy of NWS Indianapolis.


Like many others, January was warmer than normal in Ohio, with average temperatures in Columbus and Cincinnati (which were all in the upper 30s), trending 7-8°F warmer than normal. Precipitation exceeded the norm, with Columbus and Cincinnati recording 4.16” and 3.93” of liquid respectively, ranging from 0.5 - 1.0” above normal. Snowfall, varied notably throughout the southern half of Ohio. Cincinnati, though falling only 0.6” short of normal snowfall, managed to measure 7.1” of snow this month. Columbus, on the other hand, measured 5.4” of snow...short of the 9.5” normal.

The month started off warm with temperatures in the upper 50s, even reaching the low 60s for a time on the 3rd and 4th for southwest Ohio. A system on the 3rd brought rain that largely favored southern areas, as Cincinnati saw its wettest day of the month with 1.28” of rainfall. Further north, Columbus only saw half of that amount. Temperatures cooled into the low 40s on the 5th, a cooler period lasting through the 9th. High pressure settled in during this time, keeping the region dry.

Unseasonably warm conditions returned on the 10th as highs once again returned to the 50s. Showers and storms on the 12th brought decent rainfall to the region with near 3/4 of an inch through central OH. Cooler air filtered in on the backside of this system and allowed for some snow shower activity in the Columbus area on the 13th.

A mild period occurred from the 16th to the 19th with intermittent rain showers on the night of the 18th. With afternoon thunderstorms developing across the region on the 19th.

A longer duration of colder air settled in by the 20th with daytime highs ranging from the mid 30s to the low 40s for several days. Some flurries managed to fall on the 20th with a notable snow storm occurring on the 22nd. Southern locations managed to see higher totals, with Cincinnati measuring 5.6” compared to Columbus’s 3.0”. A snow event on the 25th brought a few tenths of an inch to southern and central OH, but managed to produce locally higher amounts in Dayton. A daily snowfall record was broken in Dayton, which measured 5.0” and broke the 1915 record of 4.9”.

Temperatures became mild by the 28th with highs returning to the low 50s across the area.  Unlike earlier warm spells, this one was brief, as seasonable temperatures returned on the 30th. The month ended a tad bit active, with rain showers on the 29th being followed by intermittent snow showers the final two days of the month.