Warm and Dry December

 

DECEMBER 2011

       

Temperature Data

Aberdeen

Sisseton

Wheaton

Watertown

Warmest Temperature / Date

57 / 18th

52 / 18th, 26th

51 / 19th, 27th

51 / 18th

Coldest Temperature / Date

-10 / 6th

0 / 6th

-1 / 6th, 7th

-6 / 9th

Average High / Departure from Normal

36.3 / +10.8

35.5 / +9.4

33.3 / +10.4

34.0 / +9.2

Average Low / Departure from Normal

12.5 / +6.6

16.8 / +8.9

14.8 / +8.8

15.0 / +7.8

Monthly Average / Departure from Normal

24.4 / +8.7

26.2 / +9.2

24.1 / +9.7

24.5 / +8.5

Precipitation Data

       

Monthly Precipitation / Departure from Normal

0.33 / -0.19

0.26 / -0.13

0.21 / -0.51

0.23 / -0.30

Monthly Snowfall / Departure from Normal

0.5 / -6.6

1.1 / -6.5

1.0 / -7.2

Trace / -7.1

Most Precipitation in 24 hours / Date

0.29 / 29th

0.12 / 29th

0.16 / 30th

0.22 / 29th

Most Snow in 24 hours / Date

0.5 / 4th

1.0 / 16th

0.7 / 17th

Trace / 27th

         

Temperature Data

Pierre

Kennebec

Mobridge

Timber Lake

Warmest Temperature / Date

57 / 18th

61 / 18th

60 / 18th

57 / 18th

Coldest Temperature / Date

-4 / 6th

-8 / 6th

-5 / 5th, 9th

-6 / 9th

Average High / Departure from Normal

38.6 / +7.3

40.9 / +8.2

36.6 / +7.9

35.7 / +6.2

Average Low / Departure from Normal

17.8 / +5.7

15.1 / +3.8

15.6 / +7.9

16.5 / +6.6

Monthly Average / Departure from Normal

28.2 / +6.5

28.0 / +6.0

26.1 / +7.9

26.1 / +6.4

Precipitation Data

       

Monthly Precipitation / Departure from Normal

0.09 / -0.46

0.07 / -0.31

0.21 / -0.23

0.23 / -0.25

Monthly Snowfall / Departure from Normal

0.8 / -3.9

1.0 / -5.6

1.2 / -4.5

1.5 / -6.0

Most Precipitation in 24 hours / Date

0.06 / 4th

0.04 / 13th

0.09 / 4-5th

0.08 / 31st

Most Snow in 24 hours / Date

0.6 / 4th

0.5 / 13th

1.0 / 4th

0.7 / 4th

With mild Pacific west to northwest flow through the month, December 2011 was very warm and dry across central and northeast South Dakota as well as west central Minnesota.  With abundant sunshine along with the lack of snow cover, average temperatures for the month were from 6 to 10 degrees above normal.  Most locations had one of their top fifteen warmest Decembers with some in their top ten warmest.  Mobridge had their seventh warmest December on record.  The highest temperatures for the month were much above normal with highs in the 50s to around 60 degrees.  December usually experiences many nights with much below zero temperatures.  For this December, the lowest temperatures were only from zero to 10 degrees below zero across the region. 

The area was also dry for December with locations ranging from a tenth to a half of an inch of precipitation below normal for the month. As a result, the snowfall was scarce with monthly amounts ranging from only a trace to 1.5 inches.  These monthly amounts were from 4 to 7 inches below normal.  Several locations December snowfall amounts were in their top fifteen lowest with Watertown tying for the lowest all-time with only a trace of snowfall.  Also, most of the precipitation for December was rain which is a very rare occurrence for this time of year.  

It appears that we have taken a 180 degree turn from last December.   Looking back to December 2010, average temperatures were some 10 to 20 degrees colder across the region.  A majority of the difference in temperatures is owed to the thick snow cover in December 2010.  In fact, the snowfall amounts for December 2010 ranged from 8 inches at Timber Lake to 33 inches at Sisseton.



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