December brought some historic weather
By Brad Spakowitz
To put it bluntly, the first half of December brought some active weather along with plenty of extremes – some of them record breaking.
Wasting no time, a healthy 3-6 inches of heavy, wet snow fell across the area just days into the month (Dec.5).
That night, strong northwest winds brought a blast of cold air, with temperatures continuing to drop throughout the following day.
By the morning of Dec. 7, we started the day at minus 3 degrees, the first sub-zero reading since February, and the coldest temperature reported all month.
A few days later (Dec. 10-11), the second big storm arrived – this one making national headlines because of its widespread variety of extreme weather, including that rare December outbreak of deadly tornadoes in states to our south.
Green Bay had a variety of precipitation.
By the time it was over, a sticky 3.8 inches of snow had fallen, with less south – De Pere reported 2.6 inches and only 1.4 inches in Denmark.
Nearby areas to the north had much more snow: Pulaski 6.1 inches, Suamico 6.5 inches, Stiles 10.1 inches and farther north as much as 12 inches.
This storm also brought strong northwest winds, and the weight of the snow, along with the wind brought down trees and powerlines, leaving nearly 14,000 without power – some without power for more than 24 hours.
As significant as this event was, even wilder weather arrived Dec. 15.
The day was mild and foggy, with numerous traffic accidents reported because of poor visibility.
The wind started to pick up, and temperatures continued to climb – hitting 64 degrees that night just before midnight, a new record high temperature for the date, only to be eclipsed shortly after midnight when we reached 65 degrees – another new record high for that date (Dec. 16), and the warmest ever on record for the month of December.
All of that warmth was flowing northward in advance of a cold front that also brought evening showers and thunderstorms.
While we escaped severe storms here, western Wisconsin was struck with severe storms and an unheard-of eight December tornados that night.
The front also brought extremely strong winds with widespread 50-70 mph gusts.
Rhinelander reported the strongest at 75 mph. Green Bay had a gust of 60 mph.
Of little surprise, once again tree damage and power outages occurred, leaving more 50,000 people without power in northeast Wisconsin, and more than 100,000 across the entire state.
In the aftermath of it all, our snow melted, and people were left wondering if we’d have a white Christmas, then only a week away.
There were a few feeble snow attempts over the following days, but as it turned out, Christmas had no snow on the ground, and was in fact a beautiful, mild sunny day, delighting tailgaters at the Green Bay Packers game.
The back-to-work routine (Dec. 27) featured a snowy, slippery morning commute (1-3 inches), with an instant repeat the following day, this time for the afternoon drive home.
At the conclusion of the month, the snowfall total was 15 inches (1.9 inches above average).
The precipitation total (rain plus melted snow and ice) was 2.01 inches, .31 inches above average.
Temperatures were warmer than typical Decembers, coming in at 3.5 degrees above the 30-year average.
You may recall from my previous articles, NOAA’s Winter Prediction (Dec., Jan., Feb.) was “Warmer and Wetter”… And that’s exactly how the first month of winter turned out.
We’ll see how the next two play out.