Weather Watch 1-8-11

December 2010 will be remembered as a month with cold temperatures and very little snow. The cold temperatures allowed ski centers to make tons of artificial snow, but there was almost none for snowmobilers or cross-country skiers. There was a stretch of 16 days and another of eight when the temperature did not go above freezing.

The average high temperature was 29.6 and the average low was 13.2 degrees, giving us an average temperature of 21.4 degrees - 2.7 degrees below normal and the fifth coldest on record. The highest temperature of 51 degrees was recorded Dec. 3 and the coldest of -1 degree was recorded Dec. 10. There was only one day with below zero readings compared to an average of three. The coldest December was in 1989 when the average temperature was just eight degrees, and the warmest was in 2006 when the average was 31.5 degrees. Incidentally, in that cold December 1989 there were 19 days with below zero readings and no days above freezing. This December there were 1,352.5 degree days, bringing our heating season total to 3,152.

Melted precipitation for the month was 3.41 inches - 0.32 inches less than normal. This brings the total for the year to 50.59 inches - 8.1 inches above normal and only the sixth time more than 50 inches was measured in one year. Measurable precipitation fell on only five days, with the greatest amount of 1.36 inches falling Dec. 1.

Snowfall, or the lack of it, was the big story of the month as only 3.5 inches was recorded - 13.2 inches below normal. This makes December 2010 tied with 1982 in having the second least amount of snow on record. The snowiest December was only two years ago when 42 inches was recorded, and the least snowiest was in 2006 when only 3.3 inches was recorded. The seasonal total is now only 3.5 inches, with November also being below normal.

The river reached its highest level of 7.32 feet Dec. 2 and its lowest level of 3.38 feet Dec. 28.

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