Is January 2021 in Cincinnati Cloudier Than Most?

Does this month seem cloudier than usual to you…or does it just feel that way?

Tuesday was the 13th day of January 2021 so far with 100% cloud cover between sunrise and sunset:

In other words, half of all of the days this month have had no to extremely filtered sun. There have only been two days so far this month with more sun than clouds during the day. Is this unusual?

The average of the average daily cloud cover for January 2021 so far is 78%. Compare that to 80% for all of January 2020 and 2019…and the 85% average daily cloud cover for all of 2017. This month has been cloudy, but three January’s since 2011 have been cloudier. As a first pass, January 2021 actually hasn’t been that cloudy for January standards; this is because January is often a very cloudy month.

What’s the story with January 2020, 2019, and 2017? January 2020 only had 11 100% cloud cover days, but 90% of all days (28 out of 31) had 50% or more cloud cover:

January 2020 was quite wet, with 4.14″ of precipitation. January 2019 had 14 completely cloudy days but only 6 days with 50% or less cloud cover:

January 2019 was also an active weather month with 4.11″ of precipitation. January 2017 had less precipitation (3.67″, which is 0.67″ above the monthly average), but it was quite cloudy. 81% of all days in January 2017 had 80% or more cloud cover:

There is a loose relationship between monthly precipitation and cloud cover for the month overall (of course, it’s not that simple). Interestingly, there was less than an inch of snow accumulation in January 2020 and only 4.2″ of snow accumulation (that’s below the monthly average of 6.5″) in January 2017. January 2018 had more snow accumulate (6.2″) but had less cloud cover.

Hang in there; the average daily cloud cover will increase in the next few months. Over the last few years, average cloud cover in February has centered between 70 and 90%:

By May, percentages drop to the 60 to 75% range:

By July, these percentages drop into the 45 to 65% range:

Data confirms brighter days are ahead, but this will be a gradual transition spanning the rest of the winter and spring.

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