December 2013 Highlights:

(1) Persistent shots of arctic air were common during the month, with some of the colder air masses resulting in nighttime lows well below zero, and daytime highs failing to rise above the single digits.  This resulted in average December temperatures running several degrees below normal, with all locations listed below experiencing a top ten coldest December on record!

(2) Precipitation was dominated by lake processes, with the most precipitation confined to the favored snow belt regions of northwest lower Michigan.  A lack of significant large scale storm systems resulted in precipitation averaging near, to slightly below, average outside the traditional lake belts.

(3) Heavy snowfall was common across the snow belts of northwest lower Michigan, where monthly departures exceeded 20 inches in some locations (with some locations receiving over 5 feet of snow for the month!).  Snowfall was much closer to normal away from the favored lake effect regions.

December Temperature Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2013)

December Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date

Coolest Temp/Date

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

12.2 

22.2 

-10.0 

6th Coldest 

43 / 5th

-15 / 30th*

30.9 / 2001

7.3 / 1989

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2013)

December Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date

Coolest Temp/Date

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

18.3

23.9

-5.6

8th Coldest

49 / 5th

-8 / 16th

31.4 / 2001

12.9 / 1989

 

Alpena (1916 - 2013)

December Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date

Coolest Temp/Date

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

17.2

25.0

-7.8 

6th Coldest

49 / 5th

-17 / 25th

32.3 / 1923

12.5 / 1989

 

Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport (1897 - 2013)

December Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date

Coolest Temp/Date

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

21.9

26.7 

-4.8 

N/A

51 / 5th

6 / 24th

37.6 / 1913

16.2 / 1989

 

Gaylord COOP (1951 - 2001); Gaylord Airport (2001-2013)

December Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date

Coolest Temp/Date

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

16.2

22.6

-6.4

5th Coldest

46 / 5th

-22 / 24th

31.4 / 1982

12.2 / 1989

 

 

December Precipitation Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest 24-hr rainfall/date

Days with measurable precipitation

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

2.80

2.79

+0.01

N/A

0.73 / 4th-5th

20

6.24 / 1995

0.45 / 1913

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest 24-hr rainfall/date

Days with measurable precipitation

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

2.20

1.65

+0.55

N/A

0.59 / 3rd-4th

19

4.60 / 2008

0.18 / 1960

 

Alpena (1916 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest 24-hr rainfall/date

Days with measurable precipitation

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

2.14

1.75 

+0.39

N/A 

0.52 / 3rd-4th

18

5.07 / 1996

0.39 / 1994

 

Traverse City Airport (1930 - 1993); Traverse City COOP (2001 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

2.60

2.72

-0.12 

N/A

6.39 / 2008

0.56 / 1935

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

2.90 

3.11 

-0.21

N/A

5.38 / 1985

0.83 / 1997

Gaylord, MI (APX): December, 2013 Monthly Observed Precipitation Valid at 1/1/2014 1200 UTC - Created 1/2/14 13:39 UTC 

 Gaylord, MI (APX): December, 2013 Monthly Percent of Normal Precipitation Valid at 1/1/2014 1200 UTC - Created 1/2/14 13:43 UTC

December Snowfall Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest daily snowfall/date

Days with measurable snowfall

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

32.9

33.5

-0.6

N/A

5.3 / 31st

21

98.7 / 1995

3.5 / 1913

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest daily snowfall/date

Days with measurable snowfall

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

21.1

15.9 

+5.2

N/A

4.5 / 25th

14

45.8 / 2008

1.2 / 1943

 

Alpena (1916 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest daily snowfall/date

Days with measurable snowfall

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

24.4

19.2

+5.2 

N/A

5.4 / 22nd

20

48.1 / 2008

1.8 / 1994

 

Traverse City Airport (1930 - 1993); Traverse City COOP (2001 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

44.5

26.7

+17.8 

4th Snowiest 

50.8 / 1985

3.3 / 2011

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

54.4

33.3

+21.1 

3rd Snowiest

60.5 / 1985

9.8 / 2011

 

 - all averages are calculated using the 1981 - 2010 period

( ) = Consistent years of record; Record temperature data for Gaylord is a combination of Gaylord Airport (2001-2013) and the Cooperative Observing Station records (1951-2001), Record precipitation data for Traverse City is a combination of Cherry Capital Airport (1930-1993) and the Cooperative Observing Station records (2001-2013)

- only rankings in the top 10 will be entered

* = Record occurred in multiple years/dates; latest year/date shown

**THESE DATA ARE PRELIMINARY AND HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FINAL QUALITY CONTROL BY THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER. THEREFORE, THESE DATA ARE SUBJECT TO REVISION. FINAL AND CERTIFIED CLIMATE DATA CAN BE ACCESSED AT WWW.NCDC.NOAA.GOV.*

For additional climate information and atmospheric and oceanic features that drive the patterns across our area, please visit the following links:

Latest Central Pacific Ocean Temperature Trends      Large Scale Atmospheric Blocking Features      Local Climate Home Page      Latest Drought Information

* Data for Traverse City is derived from a composite of observations taken at both Cherry Capital Airport and the cooperative observing station at Munson Medical Center. This data is for informational purposes only and does not meet climatological standards. This data set may include periods with missing data…particularly snowfall data from 1996-2001.

**Data for Gaylord is derived from a composite of observations taken at both Gaylord-Otsego County Airport and the cooperative observing station located near downtown Gaylord. This data is for informational purposes only and does not meet climatological standards. This data set may include periods with missing data and data that has been recorded from different observing points throughout history.


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