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Extreme January for the record books? Not really

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While many Minnesotans are likely saying "goodbye and good riddance" to January because of the extreme winter weather, they're not bidding adieu to the worst January on record, the National Weather Service says.

NWS meteorologist Lisa Schmidt tells WCCO that it was colder than normal this month – but nothing "extremely record-breaking."

In fact, the average temperature of 10.3 degrees in the state this month makes it the 27th coldest January since the NWS started keeping records in 1881. Looking more recently however, it was the second coldest January in the past 30 years. The only January that measured colder came in 1994, when the temperature was an average of 4.3 degrees.

And while it's normally snow storms that lead to school cancellations, it was the extreme cold and dangerous wind chills that shut down schools (up to five days for some), beginning with Gov. Mark Dayton's order to close schools statewide Jan. 6 for first time since 1997.

As for the snowfall, the 22.6 inches the Twin Cities metro area received in January is 8 inches above average.

The snow total would have been closer to an average January if not for the winter storm Thursday. FOX 9 says some parts of the state received 6 inches, with Plymouth topping all city totals at 6.7 new inches.

The snow and icy roads certainly wreaked havoc on Minnesota roadways Thursday, WCCO says. The Minnesota State Patrol reported more than 600 crashes and spinouts across the state.

Despite the slick roadways, at least Minnesotans had the advantage of dealing with weather like this before. In Atlanta, USA Today says ice and 2.6 inches of snow earlier this week left thousands of motorists stranded or forced them to abandon their cars.

While it was an eventful month with the cold and snow, the winter weather misery wasn't exclusive to Minnesota.

USA Today says the polar vortex that hit the central and eastern part of the U.S. earlier this month brought some of the coldest temperatures in 20 years.

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