A Preview of Denver's December Weather

 

THE WINTER MONTHS OF DECEMBER THROUGH MARCH ACROSS NORTHEASTERN
COLORADO CAN BE DESCRIBED AS WIDELY VARIABLE WITH RESPECT TO
TEMPERATURE AND SNOWFALL. HISTORICALLY, DECEMBER CAN FREQUENTLY SEE
HIGH TEMPERATURES CLIMB INTO THE MILD 60`S WHILE AT TIMES EXPERIENCE
VERY COLD TEMPERATURES IN THE MINUS SINGLE DIGITS. DECEMBER IS
TYPICALLY THE FIRST MONTH OF THE WINTER SEASON WHERE EXTREME ARCTIC
BLASTS CAN REACH THE EASTERN PLAINS OF COLORADO. SHORT DAYLIGHT
HOURS ALONG WITH THE OCCASIONAL DEEP TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE CAN
USHER IN A FRIGID, NORTHERN CANADIAN AIRMASS INTO THE REGION.
DECEMBER CAN ALSO BE CHARACTERIZED AS BOTH A MONTH OF HAVING DRY
BROWN-GROUND CONDITIONS WITH ZERO SNOWFALL, WHILE IN OTHER YEARS THE
MONTH CATCHES THE CITIES FIERCEST SNOWSTORMS.
 
DENVER`S MONTHLY MEAN TEMPERATURE FOR DECEMBER IS 30.0 DEGREES AND IS
DENVER`S COLDEST MONTH OF THE YEAR. DECEMBER EDGES SLIGHTLY COLDER
THAN JANUARY WHICH HAS A MEAN MONTHLY TEMPERATURE OF 30.7 DEGREES
(1981-2010 AVERAGES). DECEMBER`S DAILY NORMAL HIGH TEMPERATURES HOLD
FAIRLY CONSTANT THROUGH THE MONTH STARTING WITH A HIGH OF 45 DEGREES
AND ENDING THE MONTH WITH A NORMAL HIGH OF 43 DEGREES. FOR LOW
TEMPERATURES, THE MONTH BEGINS WITH A NORMAL LOW OF 19 DEGREES AND
FINISHES WITH A LOW OF 17 DEGREES. THE WARMEST TEMPERATURE EVER
RECORDED DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER, SINCE RECORDS BEGAN IN 1872,
WAS 79 DEGREES ON THE 5TH DAY OF THE MONTH, 1936. DECEMBERS COLDEST
TEMPERATURE EVER IN DENVER WAS -25 ON BOTH THE 24TH OF 1876 AND THE
22ND OF 1990.
 
DENVER`S COLDEST DECEMBERS (MEAN TEMPERATURES):
 
17.5 DEGREES 1983 ***COLDEST MONTH IN DENVER HISTORY
21.2         1909
22.1         1878
22.9         1873
23.2         1913
 
DENVER`S WARMEST DECEMBERS (MEAN TEMPERATURES):
 
43.8 DEGREES 1933
41.2         1980
40.8         1939
40.5         1889
39.8         1906
 
BEHIND MARCH AND NOVEMBER, DECEMBER IS DENVER`S 3RD SNOWIEST MONTH
WITH THE CITY NORMALLY COLLECTING 8.5 INCHES, BASED ON AVERAGES FROM
OLD STAPLETON INTL AIRPORT. SIMILAR TO DENVER`S OTHER 3 SNOWIEST
MONTHS OF MARCH, APRIL AND NOVEMBER, DECEMBER HAS THE CAPABILITY TO
PRODUCE BIG SNOWSTORMS. IN FACT, THE HEAVIEST AND LONGEST DURATION
SNOWSTORM IN DENVER`S HISTORY OCCURRED FROM THE 1ST THROUGH THE 5TH
OF DECEMBER, 1913. THAT 5 DAY SNOWSTORM DUMPED 45.7 INCHES ON THE
YOUNG CITY OF DENVER AND BROUGHT ALL OPERATIONS TO A HALT FOR WEEKS.
 
DENVER`S SNOWIEST DECEMBERS:
 
57.4 INCHES 1913
30.8        1973
29.4        2006
27.1        1981
21.5        1987
 
AT TIMES, DROUGHT-LIKE CONDITIONS EXTEND WELL INTO THE WINTER MONTHS
OF DECEMBER THROUGH MARCH. THESE DRY PERIODS ARE OFTEN ASSOCIATED
WITH LA NINA PHASES OF THE PACIFIC OCEANIC REGION, AND CAN HOLD
MONTHLY TEMPERATURES WELL ABOVE SEASONAL NORMALS MAINLY DUE TO
WARMER NIGHT-TIME LOW TEMPERATURES. LA NINA PATTERNS ARE ALSO
ASSOCIATED WITH CONTINUOUS WINDY DOWNSLOPE PERIODS ALONG THE EASTERN
PLAINS REGION, INCLUDING THE FRONT RANGE FOOTHILLS, THE ENTIRE I-25
CORRIDOR, INCLUDING DENVER.
 
DENVER`S LEAST SNOWIEST DECEMBERS:
 
0.0 INCHES 1881 DENVER`S LEAST SNOWIEST MONTH
 T         1905, 1906, 2002
0.1        1928
0.4        1890
0.5        1935
 
                    ...THE OUTLOOK FOR DECEMBER 2011...
 
AFTER A COLD AND MOIST EARLY PORTION OF NOVEMBER, DRY AND MILD
WEATHER RETURNED TO THE EASTERN SLOPE FOR THE REMAINDER OF MONTH.
THIS DRY AND MILD PATTERN IS EXPECTED TO CHANGE TO A PERIOD OF COLD
AND SLIGHTLY MOIST FOR THE FIRST PART OF DECEMBER, 2011 AS THE RIDGE
OF HIGH PRESSURE WHICH DOMINATED THE CENTRAL UNITED STATES WEAKENS.
SEASONAL NORMALS ARE EXPECTED FOR NORTHEAST COLORADO FOR THE MIDDLE
TO REMAINING PORTION OF DECEMBER. WITH THE CURRENT LA NINA
CONDITIONS OVER THE PACIFIC REGION, PERIODS OF STRONG WINDS CAN BE
EXPECTED EAST OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE DURING THE WINTER MONTHS,
DECEMBER INCLUDED.
 
                       ...DECEMBER STATISTICS...
 
...TEMPERATURES (1981-2010 NORMALS)...
 
AVERAGE HIGH........................... 42.8
AVERAGE LOW............................ 17.1
MONTHLY MEAN........................... 30.0
DAYS WITH HIGH 90 OR ABOVE.............   0
DAYS WITH HIGH 32 OR BELOW.............   6 (5.5)
DAYS WITH LOW 32 OR BELOW..............  29 (29.4)
DAYS WITH LOWS ZERO OR BELOW...........   2 (1.7)
 
...PRECIPITATION...
 
MONTHLY MEAN...........................  0.31 INCH
DAYS WITH MEASURABLE PRECIPITATION.....   4 (4.1)
AVERAGE SNOWFALL........................ 8.5 INCHES (3RD SNOWIEST
                                                      MONTH)
 
...MISCELLANEOUS DECEMBER AVERAGES...
 
HEATING DEGREE DAYS.................... 1086
COOLING DEGREE DAYS....................    0 (0.0)
WIND SPEED (MPH).......................    8.4*
WIND DIRECTION......................... SOUTH*
DAYS WITH THUNDERSTORMS................    0* (0.0)
DAYS WITH DENSE FOG....................    1* (1.1)
PERCENT OF SUNSHINE....................   67*
(NOTE: SUNSHINE DATA ARE NO LONGER REPORTED AS OF OCTOBER 1, 2009)
 
* = 1971-2002 NORMALS
 
...DECEMBER EXTREMES...
 
RECORD HIGH............................ 79 DEGREES ON 12/05/1939
RECORD LOW............................. -25 DEGREES ON 12/24/1876
                                                   AND 12/22/1990
WARMEST................................ 43.8 DEGREES IN 1933
MAXIMUM/MINIMUM COOLING DEGREES DAYS... NONE EVER RECORDED
COLDEST................................ 17.5 DEGREES IN 1983
MAXIMUM HEATING DEGREE DAYS............ 1469 IN 1983
MINIMUM HEATING DEGREE DAYS............   658 IN 1933
WETTEST................................   5.21 INCHES IN 1913
DRIEST.................................   0.00 IN 1881 (DRIEST MONTH
                                                  IN DENVER HISTORY)
 
FREDIN


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