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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
Overall, 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:
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.
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