Winter in Atlanta is usually mild, and it’s not out of the question to experience afternoon temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s during the month of January.
In fact, the warmest January day in Atlanta occurred on January 11, 1949 when the thermometer reached 79 degrees.
But temperatures in January can be very cold -- well below freezing and even below zero!
Averaging out all the highs and lows in the month of January, the average monthly temperature is 44.8 degrees, the coldest average monthly temperature of the year for Atlanta.
The coldest morning in January occurred on January 21, 1985 when the thermometer dropped to minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit. January 1982 was also bone-chilling cold, as the thermometer dropped to minus 5 degrees.
Another note about January 1982: Long-time Atlanta residents will remember the Snow Jam of January 12-14 1982, when 4 inches of snow, sleet and freezing rain fell throughout Metro Atlanta, paralyzing the city. A total 7 inches of snow fell that January, marking the third snowiest January in Atlanta’s history.
Other notable winter weather events in the month of January include January 23, 2000, when an ice storm struck Atlanta one week before the city was set to host the NFL’s Super Bowl. As many as 500,000 people were without power that day as freezing rain accumulated on trees and powerlines.
Snow Jam History repeated again in 2014 when 2.6 inches of snow fell during the morning and early afternoon of January 28. The city was paralyzed in melted snow that turned to ice under car tires. Thousands of people were stranded on the interstates and surface streets, and many spent the night freezing in their cars or walking home in non-walking shoes. Many more spent the night in grocery stores.
This storm was a stark reminder of the importance in keeping a weather-ready emergency kit in our vehicles. Always keep an extra blanket, jacket, pair of walking shoes, water, and non-perishable snacks in your vehicle in case weather leaves you stranded on the road for numerous hours.
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