December of 2013 in the La Crosse HSA saw below to above normal precipitation, near to above normal snowfall and much below normal temperatures.
Precipitation for December 2013 varied from below normal across most of the southwest half of the HSA to above normal across the northeast third of the HSA. A stronger storm system clipped the southeast third to half of the HSA with moderate to heavy snow on the 22nd. A pair of medium strength storms brought widespread moderate rain to the HSA on the 3rd into the 4th and widespread moderate snow to the HSA on Christmas Eve into Christmas day. Otherwise December 2013 was dominated by frequent weak systems bringing mainly light snow to portions or all of the HSA every day or two throughout the month. La Crosse recorded measurable precipitation on 15 days during the month (tied the record for most) and measurable snow on 13 days (tied for 3rd most).
Normal precipitation for December ranges from around 1.25 inches across the northwest end of the HSA, to around 1.75 inches over the far southeast end. Totals for the month ranged from mostly 60 to 100 percent of normal across the southwest half of the HSA, to mostly 100 to 150 percent of normal across the northeast third of the HSA. Precipitation totals for December were mainly 80 to 120 percent of normal. Extreme totals recorded for the month ranged from 0.47 inch at New Hampton in Chickasaw Co. IA and 0.62 inch at Charles City in Floyd Co. IA, to 2.30 inches near Westboro and 2.53 inches near Jump River, both in northern Taylor Co. WI.
December snowfall was near to above normal across the central and western parts of the HSA, to above normal across the southeast, east and northeast portions of the HSA. Monthly totals were mostly 10 to 15 inches over the central and western parts of the HSA, to mostly 15 to 20 inches across the southeast, east and northeast sections. Normal December snowfall ranges from 10 to 13 inches across the HSA. Most snowfall totals this month were 100 to 150 percent of normal.
Temperatures for December 2013 averaged 11 to 16 degrees. This was 5 to 8 degrees below the normals and made 2013 one of the 15 to 20 coldest Decembers of record at most locations. Temperatures were above to much above normal from the 1st to the 4th then much below to below normal from 5th to the 16th. Near to slightly above normal temperatures occurred from the 17th to the 21st with another round of much below and below normal readings from the 22nd to 24th. Temperatures were near to above normal on the 25th and 26th then above to much above normal on the 27th and 28th. The month ended with much below and below normal readings from the 29th through 31st. Extremes for the month ranged from lows of 10 below to 30 below on the morning of the 30th, to highs in the middle 30s to middle 40s on the 2nd and 4th.
Flows in the rivers and streams of the HSA were generally near normal during December. Some improvement to the drought conditions occurred over the northeast half of the HSA but abnormally dry to locally severe drought conditions persisted across much of the HSA at the end of the month. Due to the much below normal temperatures most of the month, ground frost depth and ice cover on the rivers, streams and lakes of the HSA were above normal at the end of the month.