January 5

D.J.’s Monthly Digits: Colder Conditions For Some In December 2016

Follow Meteorologist D.J. Kayser on Twitter (@dkayserwx) or on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser).

We ended the year 2016 with a mixed bag of records across the country during the month of December. In this edition of D.J.’s Monthly Digits, let’s take a look back some of the weather extremes of December 2016.

Warm Southern U.S In December 2016

Places With A Top Ten Warmest December 2016 On Record

While we saw numerous record highs throughout the month across the country, in many areas they were equaled with some colder stretches, knocking many out of seeing a top ten warmest December on record. However, areas of the southern U.S. held on to the warmth long enough to place in the top ten. Overall, 21 long-term NWS climate locations saw a top ten warmest December on record. Only one location saw their warmest December on record, and that was down in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with an average temperature of 80.8 degrees. Some of the other locations with a top ten warmest December included:

  • Key West, FL: 77.5 (2nd warmest)
  • Fort Myers, FL: 73.3 (2nd warmest)
  • Miami, FL: 76.7 (2nd warmest)
  • Tampa, FL: 70.1 (3rd warmest)
  • Orlando, FL: 68.8 (4th warmest)
  • Tucson, AZ: 56.3 (5th warmest)
  • Phoenix, AZ: 57.9 (6th warmest)
  • New Orleans, LA: 59.5 (8th warmest)
  • Baton Rouge, LA: 58.1 (10th warmest)
  • El Paso, TX: 49.3 (10th warmest)

Haven’t Seen This In A While – A Cold Month In Spots!

Places With A Top Ten Coldest December 2016 On Record

Meanwhile, one place that held on to the colder weather longer than others was in the Northwest, where 14 long-term NWS climate locations saw a top ten coldest December on record. None of them saw a record coldest, but here were those that did pop into the top ten:

  • Burns, OR: 18.2 (3rd coldest)
  • Rapid City, SD: 16.6 (3rd coldest)
  • Pocatello, ID: 19.7 (5th coldest)
  • Billings, MT: 18.7 (6th coldest)
  • Boise, ID: 23.3 (6th coldest)
  • Casper, WY: 17.8 (7th coldest)
  • Quillayute, WA: 37 (7th coldest)
  • Portland, OR: 37.2 (8th coldest)
  • Kalispell, MT: 16.9 (9th coldest)
  • Lewiston, ID: 28.7 (9th coldest)
  • Olympia, WA: 35.4 (9th coldest)
  • Pendleton, OR: 28.1 (9th coldest)
  • Sheridan, WY: 15.4 (10th coldest)
  • Salem, OR: 36.8 (10th coldest)

December Precipitation

December 2016 Precipitation

Heavy rain fell during the month of December 2016 across portions of the Northwest, as well as into the Ohio Valley and Gulf Coast state – areas that badly needed the rain after a very dry November.

December 2016 Precipitation Departure From Average

Even with the heavy precipitation in the Northwest, many areas were still below average for the month. Meanwhile, areas of the Gulf Coast and Ohio Valley that did see the rain saw above average values. Surrounding it, particularly in parts of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, people saw below average precipitation on the order of 2-4″ below average. One other area that saw greater than average precipitation during the month of December was in the upper Midwest/Northern Plains.

Places With A Top Ten Wettest December 2016 On RecordOverall, 24 long term NWS climate locations saw a top ten wettest December on record. Two of those locations saw their wettest December on record. Here’s a look at the locations that saw a top ten wettest December:

  • Bismarck, ND: 2.06″ (Wettest December on record)
  • International Falls, MN: 2.19″ (Wettest December on record)
  • Bakersfield, CA: 2.41″ (3rd wettest)
  • Casper, WY: 1.31″ (3rd wettest)
  • San Antonio, TX: 6.22″ (3rd wettest)
  • Lake Charles, LA: 12.05″ (4th wettest)
  • Aberdeen, SD: 1.78″ (5th wettest)
  • Billings, MT: 1.67″ (6th wettest)
  • Baton Rouge, LA: 9.71″ (6th wettest)
  • Jackson, KY: 6.16″ (6th wettest)
  • Pensacola, FL: 9.62″ (6th wettest)
  • Rapid City, SD: 0.77″ (8th wettest)
  • Rochester, MN: 2.07″ (9th wettest)
  • Sault Ste Marie, MI: 4.25″ (9th wettest)

Very Few Excessively Dry Locations In December

Places With A Top Ten Driest December 2016 On RecordDespite numerous areas across the country that below average precipitation on December, only two long term NWS climate locations saw a top ten driest on record. Those were:

  • Springfield, MO: 0.62″ (8th driest)
  • Fort Myers, FL: 0.24″ (9th driest)

What Could The Month Of January Hold?

January 2017 Temperature Outlook

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting below average temperatures across the Northwest once again during the month of January, with warmer than average temperatures predicted across the South and East.

January 2017 Precipitation Outlook

Above average precipitation is expected during January across parts of the western U.S. and in the Southeast. However, parts of Texas and New Mexico, as well as central/southern Florida could see below average precipitation.

– Meteorologist D.J. Kayser

DJ Kayser web2

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