Extreme December Temperatures Past and Outlook for the Month Ahead

As December 2017 begins, we remember some past December’s in Augusta with extreme temperatures.

Warmest December

December 2015 was the warmest month of December—by far—on record for Augusta.

The average temperature for the month at Augusta Regional Airport was 59.3 degrees, an astonishing 12 degrees above average. The next warmest December on record occurred in 1889, but it was nearly 2 degrees cooler than December 2015! The month ended with a string of record highs, beginning on Christmas Day when the high temperature reached 81 degrees.

2015-december-temp-anomaly
December 2015 Temperature Anomaly. Source: National Centers for Environmental Information

Not only was it a very warm month, but there was also plenty of rain. 6.92 inches of rain fell at Augusta Regional Airport, making it the 7th wettest December since 1942, when records began at Augusta Regional Airport. Precipitation was 204 percent of average, which is 3.39 inches.

Coldest December

Those of you who are winter lovers are probably sick of reading about all of these warm temperatures, so let’s talk about the coldest December on record in Augusta! That occurred in 2000. The average temperature for the month was a bone-chilling 38.5 degrees! Brrrrrr!

2000-december-temp-anomaly
December 2000 Temperature Anomaly. Source: National Centers for Environmental Information

This December

How will December 2017 stack up? We’ll just have to wait and see, but the Climate Prediction Center has reversed their temperature probability forecast for December. In mid November, the CPC was forecasting a chance of above average temperatures for our region. But on Thursday, the CPC issued a new forecast, calling for a 50 percent chance of below average temperatures for the month ahead.

While the first few days of the month are expected to bring warmer than average temperatures to the Central Savannah River Area, computer models are showing colder than normal temperatures likely around Dec. 10.

The American GFS model clearly shows a deep trough digging into the Eastern U.S.:

And the European model shows much the same…

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