December was shivering cold across much of U.S.

Climate data show that the month of December was indeed the winter monster that many people across the country believed it to be.

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. in December was 30.2 degrees F, which is 3.2 degrees below the monthly average, according to a preliminary summary released this morning by NOAA’s National Climate Data Center. (No, this does not negate global warming.)

Precipitation was 2.88 inches, or 0.65 inch above the monthly long-term average (1901 to 2000).

For all of 2009, the contiguous U.S. was .3 degrees warmer than average, and precipitation was 2.33 inches above average. Temperatures were above normal in parts of the South, Southwest and West, while much of the Central Plains and Midwest were below normal.

December 2009 was the 11th wettest December on record. This is the fourth consecutive December that the contiguous U.S. has had above normal precipitation.

Washington was one of only four states with below average precipitation for December. The others were also Northwest states: Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming.

We kept hearing about snow in other regions. Satellite observations showed snow covering 4.1 million square kilometers in December — the largest extent of snow cover for any December since records began in 1966.

Several major cities, including Philadelphia, Washington, and Oklahoma City, had their snowiest Decembers on record.

Drought conditions improved in California and South Texas, but became worse in Arizona.

One can arrange the data on the NCDC site to look at trends in various ways.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Please enter the word MILK here: