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September 19, 2018

Balmy December Was Warmest On Record – By A Longshot


OSWEGO, NY – December 2015 resembled a spring month more than winter, according to Bill Gregway, the official local observer for the National Weather Service.

The squirrels didn't mind the extra warm December. It gave them more time to find food, like this one in East Park in Oswego,

The squirrels didn’t mind the extra warm December. It gave them more time to find food, like this one in East Park in Oswego,

The average temperature was 41.9 degrees. That is 12.2 degrees higher than normal.

“That makes it number 1, by a longshot. The old highest was 37 degrees,” Gregway said. “It’s hard to believe.”

The highest temperature was 66 degrees on the 24th and the lowest was 21 degrees on the 28th.

December had 3 days where the high was 60 degrees or warmer. It was 50 degrees or warmer 6 times, with 2 stretches of 2 days in a row.

The overnight lows were 32 degrees or colder 10 times, with a streak of 4 in a row.

There was 1 new high record (the 66 degrees). The old record was 55 degrees in 1965.

“We also had a near record on the 11th when it hit 61 degrees,” Gregway added. “The record is 62 degrees set in 1979.”

Total precipitation for December came in at 4.01 inches. That is 0.21-inch above average.

“It was one of the few months last year that we were above average,” Gregway said.

As the calendar flipped to 2016, there was a noticeable chill in the air as dozens headed out on the First Day Walk at historic Fort Ontario (Photo provided by Debbie Engelke)

As the calendar flipped to 2016, there was a noticeable chill in the air as dozens headed out on the First Day Walk at historic Fort Ontario (Photo provided by Debbie Engelke)

The greatest precipitation in a 24-hour period was 0.59-inch on the 27th.

Precipitation for the year wound up at 38.23 inches. That is 4.70 inches below average.

Snowfall in December was only 7.6 inches. That is 25.9 inches below where it should be.

The greatest snowfall in a 24-hour period was 5.0 inches on the 19th.

At the end of December, snowfall for the winter was 10.6 inches. That is 32.4 inches below average.

The area had snow pellets 2 times; ice pellets and freezing rain once each.

December had measurable precipitation on 16 days, with streaks of 4 and 5 days in a row.

There was just a trace on 6 days.

And, no precipitation fell on 9 days, with 6 of them being consecutive.

There were no thunderstorms, which is average.

December saw 2 foggy days, which is 1 above average.

The area saw 15 percent of the possible amount of sunshine. That’s 1 percentage above normal.

The number of cloudy days, 28, was 3 above average.

The number of partly cloudy days, 3, was 2 below average.

The number of clear days, 0, was 1 below average.

The highest barometric pressure was 30.72 on the 5th and the lowest was 29.34 on the 14th.

December’s strongest winds were westerly at greater than 30 mph on the 19th.

“We also had west-northwesterly winds around 30 mph on the 15th,” Gregway added.

December 2014 was 3.7 degrees warmer than average.

The highest temperature was 55 degrees on the 1st and the 2nd saw the lowest, 17 degrees.

There were no records broken.

Snowfall was 25.2 inches and 42.3 inches for the winter.

But, just like December 2015, it was a green Christmas.

Prior to 2015’s 41.9 degrees, the warmest December since 1855 was 2006 (37.0 degrees). Close behind is 1881 with 36.8 degrees. That’s followed by 36.4 degrees in 2001.

“Five of the top 10 warmest Decembers are from this century,” Gregway pointed out.

The coldest is 1989 (16.2 degrees). It was 18.1 degrees in 1917 and 20.4 degrees in 1890.

The highest temperature in December was 69 degrees on the 7th back in 1998. The coldest was -23 degrees on the 29th of 1933.

December 1878 holds the honor of being the wettest (10.50 inches) and the driest is a tie (1.02 inches) in 1876 and 1917.

The most snowfall came in December 1958 – 85.8 inches. December 1911 saw the least snow – 2.9 inches.

December 1958 also saw the most snow in a 24-hour period – 48+ inches.

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