December 2008 - Record Snow Across Much of the Area

For snow lovers, December 2008 has been a dream come true. Numerous sites across the area recorded a record, or near-record month in terms of snowfall. A very active pattern which brought numerous strong weather systems across the center of the countrybrought measurable snow just about on an every-other-day basis during the month. This favorable storm track across the Nation's midsection guaranteed two things; the first (and most important for snow) was cold air being locked in place north of the storm track, and the second, a region of accumulating snow to the north of most low pressure systems this time of year. 

Below is a general summary of the historic December snowfall around the area. To read about some of the larger snowfall events of December 2008, visit the following links:

Snowfall Amounts and Temperatures - Graphics

Below are some images of the December 2008 snowfall (left), the snowfall departure from normal for that time period (center), and the temperature departures from normal also for that same period (right).  Note the close comparison between the very cold (much below normal) temperatures in the region and the much above normal snowfall. These images courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. (Click images for larger picture!)

December 2008 Snowfall Amounts December 2008 Snowfall Departure From Normal December 1-30Temperature Departure

La Crosse, WI

During 2008, the official snow observer near La Crosse Municipal Airport recorded 32.7 inches of snow.  This was the snowiest December ever recorded.  The previous record was 30.4 inches back in 1990.

Below is a table of the top 10 snowiest Decembers at La Crosse. Period of record for snowfall is 1908-2008.

Top 10 Snowiest Decembers in La Crosse, Wisconsin
Rank Amount Year
1 32.7 2008
2 30.4 1990
3 26.6 1968
4 25.5 2000/1927
5 24.2 2007
6 21.9 1911
7 19.8 1969
8 19.5 1950
9 18.8 1977

Besides being the snowiest December on record, it was also the fourth snowiest month ever recorded.  Monthly snowfall records date back to January 1883.  The snowiest month was January 1996 when 35.0 inches of snow fell.  The table below contains the ten snowiest months in La Crosse, WI.

Top 10 Snowiest Months in La Crosse, Wisconsin
Rank Amount Year
1 39.6 January 1929
2 35.0 January 1996
3 33.5 March 1959
4 32.7 December 2008
5 32.2 January 1886
6 31.9 January 1999
7 31.0 February 1959
8 30.4 December 1990
9 30.3 November 1991
10 29.7 January 1979

Rochester, MN

During 2008, the official snow observer near Rochester International Airport recorded 28.6 inches of snow.  This was the third snowiest December.  The greatest snowfall ever recorded in December was 35.3 inches in 2000.

Below is a table of the top 10 snowiest Decembers at Rochester. Period of record for snowfall is 1928-2008.

Top 10 Snowiest Decembers in Rochester, Minnesota
Rank Amount Year
1 35.3 2000
2 30.6 1969
3 28.6 2008
4 21.4 1950
5 20.8 1990
6 20.7 1968
7 19.6 1996
8 18.8 1977
9 18.3 1961/1940

Besides being the 3rd snowiest December on record, it was also the sixth snowiest month ever recorded. Monthly snowfall records date back to 1928. The snowiest month was January 1996 when 30.2 inches of snow fell. The table below contains the ten snowiest months in Rochester, MN. 

Top 10 Snowiest Months in Rochester, Minnesota
Rank Amount Year
1 35.3 December 2000
2 35.1 March 1951
3 30.6 December 1969
4 30.2 January 1996
5 29.4 January 1999
6 28.6 December 2008
7 27.3 January 1982
8 27.0 January 1932
9 25.2 March 1985
10 24.4 January 1979

Sites Across The Area - Snowfall Totals in December 2008

The table below provides the December 2008 snowfall amounts for the area. Keep in mind, the average snowfall for the entire  snow season (July 1st through June 30th  ranges from 35 to 50 inches across the area.

December 2008 Snowfall
Location State Snowfall December Rank
Necedah 2SE WI 36.6 1st
La Crosse NWS WI 35.4" 1st
Platteville WI 35.2" 1st
Waukon IA 34.9" 1st
Hillsboro WI 34.7" 1st
Grand Meadow MN 34.6" 1st
Medford WI 34.5" 1st
Preston MN 33.5" 1st
Lanseboro MN 33.2" 2nd
Mather 3NW WI 32.8" 2nd
La Crosse WI 32.7" 1st
Decorah IA 32.2" 1st
Westby 1NE WI 31.7" 1st
Galesville 1S WI 31.5" 1st
Richland Center WI 30.3" 2nd
Gays Mills WI 29.8" 2nd
Postville IA 29.8" 2nd
Fayette IA 29.6" 3rd
Sparta WI 28.8" 3rd
Rochester MN 28.6" 3rd
Neillsville WI 28.4" 4th
New Hampton IA 28.3" 4th
Viroqua WI 28.3 2nd
Osage IA 27.6" 1st
Hatfield WI 27.1" 2nd
Charles City IA 27.0" 1st
Caledonia MN 26.6" 2nd
Mondovi WI 26.6" 3rd
Winona Dam MN 26.5" 2nd
Blair WI 26.1" 3rd
Ontario WI 25.7" 4th
Winona MN 24.9" 4th
Dorchester IA 24.2" 3rd
Elkader IA 23.4" 3rd
Theilman MN 23.2" 2nd
Lake City MN 21.9" 2nd
Owen 3W WI 21.9" 2nd



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