December 2009 - A Top 5 Coldest December on Record


 Not surprisingly, December 2009 will go down in the record books as one the top 5 coldest on record across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. Average temperatures for the month were 7 to 9 degrees below normal across the area. The average temperature is simply the average of all the daily maximum and minimum temperatures. Specifically the numbers for three cities in the area look like this:

 

Site December 2009 Average Temperature Departure from Normal All-Time Rank
Grand Island, NE
18.3 degrees 7.3 degrees below 5th coldest
Hastings, NE
18.6 degrees 8.1 degrees below 3rd coldest
Smith Center, KS 21.2 degrees 8.6 degrees below 3rd coldest
Normals are based on 30-year averages from 1971-2000

 

Despite breaking into the top 5, December 2009 didn't even come close to matching the all-time coldest December on record. That honor still belongs to December 1983, which featured several days with daily high temperatures BELOW zero. Grand Island experienced 7 straight days of high temperatures below zero in December 1983.  The following table depicts the top 5 coldest Decembers on record.

 

Top 5 Coldest December - Average Temperature
Rank

Grand Island, NE

(Central Nebraska Regional Airport)

Hastings, NE     

(Municipal Airport)

Smith Center, KS

(NWS Cooperative Observer)

1. 8.4 degrees in 1983 9.8 degrees in 1983 12.5 degrees in 1983
2. 14.2 degrees in 1924 17.4 degrees in 2000 17.4 degrees in 1914
3. 16.0 degrees in 1909 18.6 degrees in 2009 21.2 degrees in 2009
4. 17.1 degrees in 2000 20.5 degrees in 1985 22.7 degrees in 2000

5.

18.3 degrees in 2009 20.8 degrees in 1968 23.2 degrees in 1916
Period of Record 1895 through 2009 1907 through 2009 1912-1924 and 1951 through 2009

 

This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.

 

Last Updated: 1/4/10

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