January 16, 2013 | LXXII, No. 42

December 2012 was warm and wet

Weather Watcher

Reviewing data sets for December 2011 and 2012 shows we were a bit warmer and wetter. Our low for December 2012 was 21.9°F compared to 2011, which was 16.4°F. That’s a 5.5 degree difference. The all-time low temperature for December was a minus 16°F in 1968, while the mean low is 29.6°F. Precipitation shows a difference of 1.63 inches. We measured 2.12 inches for 2012, while in 2011 we received only 0.49 inches. Snow accumulation for December 2012 was 6.4 inches and in 2011 just 1.3 inches.

For our current winter, 2012-13, we’ve had 14.6 inches of snow here at the home weather station (through Jan. 13). Same time frame last winter (2011-12) we had just 3.0 inches. So, if you like snow, we are up over the previous winter by nearly one foot.

For the calendar year 2012, here are the final measurements from the home weather station: Temperature -- low: 3.9°F, high: 98.9°F, Precipitation - 15.45 inches, Total snowfall - 23.7 inches.

So far this January, we’ve had some nice cool temperatures. The home weather station shows we had only five days, as of this writing, of above freezing temperatures. The low so far this year was 12.7°F. The mean for January is 26.7°F (all time low was minus 17°F in 1950). January is our coldest month.

Snow fell a few days ago, and there is still some on the ground in shaded spots. We had about two tenths of an inch of graupel, which is also known as “soft hail” or “snow pellets.” Graupel occurs when super cooled water droplets collect and freeze on snowflakes. It looks like small polystyrene pellets.

We’ve had a handful of clear nights, a great time, when dressed warmly, to get out and observe the night sky. The early night sky presents us with Jupiter until about midnight. Mars is low in the Southwest following sunset all month. Uranus and Neptune occupy the western sky during the evening hours. We will experience a full moon on Jan. 27. Unlike 2012, we will only have the requisite 12 full moons, not 13.

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