Dry And Warm December 2011

Obviously, it's not anyone's imagination, December 2011 - indeed the entire fall - has been very warm and dry. How Warm? How Dry? A look at the preliminary data shows that for the the first twenty one days of December 2011, the 23.7 degree average temperature in Fargo is quite mild - the 11th warmest on record. At the UND/NWS Climate station it's a bit cooler; the average temperature of 20.9 degrees for the first 3 weeks in December 2011 is not in the top 10, but ranks 18th warmest.

Precipitation has been quite a bit off from normal as well. In the case of the UND/NWS Climate station the trace of precipitation is the driest December on record, tying with several other years. Down in Fargo the 0.03 inch is the 3rd driest on record.

Below is a table of the preliminary average temperatures and precipitation totals for the first three weeks at the UND/NWS Climate Station and for the Fargo Area.  

 

GRAND FORKS UNIV (323621)                            Fargo Area  (ThreadEx Station*)     
Extremes                                             Extremes                           
Highest Average Average Temperature degrees F        Highest Average Average Temperature
Days: 12/1 - 12/21                                   Days: 12/1 - 12/21                 
Length of period: 21 days                            Length of period: 21 days          
Years: 1850-2011                                     Years: 1850-2011                   
                                                                                               
Rank  Value  Ending Date                             Rank  Value  Ending Date           
  1    29.4   12/21/1939                               1    31.5   12/21/1939           
  2    26.7   12/21/1894                               2    28.7   12/21/1923            
  3    26.0   12/21/1923                               3    27.0   12/21/1913, 12/21/1894
  4    25.9   12/21/1913                               5    26.1   12/21/1959           
  5    25.5   12/21/1997                               6    25.3   12/21/1997           
  6    23.5   12/21/1987                               7    24.8   12/21/2001           
  7    23.4   12/21/1959                               8    24.4   12/21/1957           
  8    23.3   12/21/1967                               9    24.0   12/21/1998           
  9    22.8   12/21/1982                              10    23.8   12/21/2006           
 10    22.4   12/21/1957                              11    23.7   12/21/2011           
 11    22.1   12/21/1907                              12    23.6   12/21/1941, 12/21/1918
 12    21.9   12/21/1965                              14    23.1   12/21/1987           
 13    21.8   12/21/1952,                             15    23.0   12/21/1967           
              12/21/2001, 12/21/2002                                                           
                                                                                               
                                                                                                
GRAND FORKS UNIV (323621)                           Fargo Area  (ThreadEx Station*)     
Extremes                                            Extremes                            
Lowest Total Precipitation inches                   Lowest Total Precipitation inches  
Days: 12/1 - 12/22                                  Days: 12/1 - 12/22                 
Length of period: 22 days                           Length of period: 22 days          
Years: 1850-2011                                    Years: 1850-2011                   
                                                                                               
Rank  Value  Ending Date                            Rank  Value  Ending Date           
  1       T   12/22/2011 (1), 12/22/1994,             1       T   12/22/1957           
              12/22/1959, 12/22/1908, 12/22/1907      2    0.01   12/22/1959           
  6    0.01   12/22/1989, 12/22/1913, 12/22/1904      3    0.02   12/22/1997, 12/22/1913
  9    0.05   12/22/1957                              5    0.03   12/22/2011        
 10    0.07   12/22/1932                              6    0.04   12/22/1958, 12/22/1890
 11    0.08   12/22/2006, 12/22/1979, 12/22/1940      8    0.05   12/22/1989           
 14    0.10   12/22/1997                              9    0.08   12/22/1943, 12/22/1888
 15    0.11   12/22/1998 (1)                         11    0.09   12/22/1976           
                                                     12    0.10   12/22/1945,          
                                                                  12/22/1932,12/22/1930, 12/22/1904

* This station's record may include data from more than one, possibly incompatible, locations. It reflects the longest available record for the Fargo Area. Parenthetical values represent days of missing data for that period.

The data above clearly shows that December has been, as we already know, quite mild and very dry. When combined with the persistent above normal temperature pattern, the result is the development of a Moderate Drought within the Red River Valley region. Based on information from NWS and other weather spotters, soil conditions - while dry - are moist enough so that frost is present down to a few feet in some locations. Based on reports from observers, the water table in many locations has dropped anywhere from 2 feet in the clay based Valley to as much as 6 feet in the sandy loam of the western Minnesota Lakes country.

Below is the latest Drought Monitor.


U.S. Drought Monitor

National Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor for the Midwest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 National Drought Monitor - Midwest Region

Drought Monitor for the High Plains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Drought Monitor - High Plains Region



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