Cold has a different meaning on Sanibel and Captiva. We all understand that cold is, well, not really cold, but in the month of January folks on Sanibel certainly endured a cold spell.

The average daytime high here in January is 75 degrees. The AccuWeather thermometer at santivachronicle.com achieved that on 14 days and equaled it twice, which amounts to half the time. But some of the other January never got close.

The year began with a daytime high of 75, the average. Then it suddenly dropped off. The next five days had highs in the mid to low 60s and at night it was low 40s and even a 38- and a 39-degree night.

After a burst of normal days that even saw the mercury hit 80, it dropped off again. The daytime high on Thursday, Jan. 18, was only 59 degrees and that night it plunged almost to freezing at 33. The month closed with more normal, and beautiful weather.

The colder than normal weather received her was the fringe of a huge cold system that gripped the Eastern United States in January. Cold and snow records were set in places that usually don't worry about either – places like Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., and even Florida cities like Jacksonville and Tallahassee.

While it was chilly, Islanders finally got a normal month when it came to rainfall. January normally produces 1.94 inches, according to AccuWeather, and the month just ended delivered 1.16, which is 0.78 below normal. This comes on the heels of a tumultuous weather year that included heavy rain and a hurricane. The slightly below normal rainfall in January gives the local ecosystem a chance to catch its breath.