A Statistical Preview of December's Weather

...A STATISTICAL PREVIEW OF DENVER'S DECEMBER WEATHER...
 
THE WINTER MONTHS OF DECEMBER THROUGH MARCH ACROSS NORTHEASTERN COLORADO ARE 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. ON DECEMBER 21ST, 1983, THE HIGH TEMPERATURE MAXED OUT AT A FRIGID -8 AND IS CURRENTLY DECEMBER'S COLDEST LOW MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE SINCE 1872.

DECEMBER IS TYPICALLY THE FIRST MONTH OF THE WINTER SEASON WHERE EXTREME ARCTIC BLASTS CAN REACH THE EASTERN PLAINS OF COLORADO. SHORT DAYLIGHT HOURS COMBINED WITH THE OCCASIONAL DEEP TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE CAN USHER IN A FRIGID NORTH CANADIAN AIRMASS INTO THE HIGH PLAINS REGION. DECEMBER CAN ALSO BE CHARACTERIZED AS A MONTH OF HAVING BOTH DRY AND BREEZY BROWN-GROUND CONDITIONS WITH LOW SNOWFALL, WHILE IN OTHER YEARS THE MONTH RECEIVES THE CITIES FIERCEST SNOWSTORMS.

DENVER'S MONTHLY MEAN TEMPERATURE FOR DECEMBER IS 30.0 DEGREES AND IS DENVER'S COLDEST MONTH OF THE YEAR. THE MONTH OF DECEMBER JUST EDGES OUT JANUARY WITH A MEAN TEMPERATURE OF 30.7 (1983-2013 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, 1939. DECEMBER'S COLDEST TEMPERATURE EVER IN DENVER WAS -25 ON BOTH THE 24TH OF 1876 AND THE 22ND OF 1990.
 
DENVER'S COLDEST DECEMBERS (MEAN TEMPERATURES IN DEGREES):
 
17.5.........1983 ***COLDEST MONTH IN DENVER HISTORY
21.2.........1909
22.1.........1878
22.9.........1873
23.2.........1913
 
DENVER'S WARMEST DECEMBER (MEAN TEMPERATURES IN DEGREES):
 
43.8.........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 (INCHES):
 
57.4........1913 ***SNOWIEST MONTH IN DENVER HISTORY
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 (INCHES):
 
0.0........1881 DENVER`S LEAST SNOWIEST MONTH
 T ........1905, 1906, 2002
0.1........1928
0.4........1890
0.5........1935
 
                                        ...OUTLOOK FOR DECEMBER 2013...
 
AFTER A NOVEMBER 2013 WITH ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION, DENVER WILL SEE A SHARP DECREASE IN TEMPERATURES DUE TO AN ARCTIC COLD FRONT OVER THE FIRST WEEK IN DECEMBER. THE LONG RANGE MODELS INDICATE NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR DECEMBER AS WELL AS A CHANCE OF AVERAGE PRECIPITATION FOR DECEMBER 2013.  
 
                                           ...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 (5.8)
DAYS WITH LOW 32 OR BELOW.............. 29 (29.4)
DAYS WITH LOWS ZERO OR BELOW...........   2 (1.7)
 
...PRECIPITATION...
 
MONTHLY MEAN...........................   0.35 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)


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