Coldest December and Record Temperatures

January 2, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

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record-cold-winter-2010

Should we be fearfully looking north for a rapidly moving glacial sheet of snow, wind, and ice that just might be plunging southward, indiscriminately swallowing cities, towns, and villages while leaving behind a frigid frozen wasteland of deep drifting snow?

Well, one might think so after glancing at a few recent headlines…


Florida
The National Weather Service reports Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and Naples – among others – all observed their coldest December on record.

Arizona
Record cold in the Flagstaff area overnight has burst water pipes all over town.

Nevada
Las Vegas set a record today with the coldest high temperature ever recorded in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve: just 38 degrees

Oregon
Burns, Oregon fell to a bone chilling -25F on Friday morning (12/31), followed by -23F this morning (1/1). Both lows temperatures smashed the former record lows for those dates.

Utah
Cedar City dipped down to a frigid -15 degrees, beating its 1988 record of -10, according to meteorologist Linda Cheng of the National Weather Service. Ferron, in central Utah, reached -9 degrees, a few degrees below its record -6 degrees in 1975.

Georgia
Through Thursday, the average daily temperature has been 36.9 degrees – colder than any December since 1917, when the average temperature was 35.2 degrees, according to National Weather Service records.

Pennsylvania
December 2010 was one of the coldest on record in the Alle-Kiski Valley, and had more snow than usual.

Mid-Atlantic region
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bob Smerbeck, December 2010 will be going down in the record books as one of the dozen or so coldest winters for the Mid-Atlantic region. That’s based on records kept since 1897.

Cuba
Cuba registered on Wednesday its lowest temperatures for December in the last 50 years with 31 local records.

United Kingdom
Temperatures for December are the coldest on record, with the average reading close to minus 1c – almost six degrees below normal.
The benchmark Central England Temperature plunged to an average of -0.6C over the month, the lowest figure for December since 1890, according to MeteoGroup UK, the weather forecasting division of the Press Association.

Germany
It was the third coldest on record, and the coldest since 1969. The average temperature in December 2010 was -3.5 °C, which is -4.3°C under the 1961-1990 average of 0.8°C.

Ireland
“Met Office figures show that the average temperature from December 1, the first day of winter, to December 28 was a bitter minus 0.8c (30.5f). This equals the record December low of 1890.”

Finland
According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the current December has been the coldest since 1978 in southern and central parts of Finland.

Sweden
Sweden’s current cold snap will continue throughout December, which is now looking to be the coldest in at least 110 years, according to Swedish meteorologists.

Switzerland
There was an unusual amount of snow in the Swiss plateau in December, while the mountains were colder than they have been for decades.

India
MUMBAI: While the temperatures at party venues soared on Friday, the mercury plummeted to an all-time low of this season. With 12.8 degrees Celsius, the city recorded its chilliest New Year’s Eve in the last seven years.

Korea
The South Korean capital Seoul is experiencing its coldest December in 30 years, with the temperature dropping as low as minus 15.1 degrees Celsius on Dec. 24, according to the weather bureau.


la-nina-december-2010

One explanation for the cold and snowy December and winter of 2010 could be the La Nina effect. That is when the surface temperature of the Pacific ocean drops below normal and subsequently affects global climate.

During November 2010, the ongoing La Niña was reflected by below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The average temperatures in the upper 300m of the ocean also remained well below-average in association with a shallower-than-average thermocline across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

La Niña is expected to peak during November-January and to continue into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2011.


Time to cut another cord of firewood…

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