The month of December 2012 features a general trend of above normal temperatures, and above normal precipitation. In fact, 26 out of the 31 days of the month saw a trace of more of liquid precipitation recorded at the Albany International Airport. It was also a windy month, with 15 of the 31 days of the month seeing wind gusts up or over the 25 MPH mark.
- TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION SUMMARY
The average monthly temperature, at the Albany International Airport, for the month of December, 2012, was 33.3 degrees. This was 4.8 degrees below the normal average monthly temperature of 28.5 degrees.
The highest temperature recorded during the month, at the Albany International Airport, was 56 degrees on the 4th, while the lowest temperature was 18 degrees, recorded on the 26th, and the 30th.
The Albany International Airport saw 4.05 inches of precipitation fall during the month. This was 1.12 inches above the normal monthly precipitation amount of 2.93 inches.
13.3 inches of snowfall accumulated during the month. This was just 0.4 inches below the seasonal monthly normal of 13.4 inches.
Since July 1, 2012, 13.4 inches of snowfall had accumulated, and this is 3.1 inches below the normal of 16.5 inches.
- WIND DATA AND SUMMARY
The average wind speed at the Albany International Airport was 7.5 MPH for the month of December. The highest sustained wind speed was 33 MPH from the northwest (300 degree direction on the compass) on the 30th. The strongest gust during the month was also recorded on the 21st, from the west-southwest (270 degree direction on the compass), at 45 MPH.
- GENERAL WEATHER SUMMARY
December 2012 started out under the presence of a zonal (west-to-east) flow pattern in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere across the Continental United States. This type of pattern it typically associated with fast moving weather systems that usually do not have much time to develop, and hence produce modest amounts of precipitation. Temperatures did start out the month warming to above normal levels, with 7 of the first 10 days of the month seeing high temperatures over the 45 degree mark, and 4 of those 7 days being above the 50 degree mark.
A strong system would impact the region around the 10th of the month, bringing nearly a half inch of rain to Albany, and setting the trend for some cooler conditions, though yet still above normal in terms of temperature.
Mid-month tranquility was experienced in the weather department, as strong high pressure built into the region with slightly above normal temperatures remaining in place.
With the approach of the Christmas holiday, the weather would turn a bit more active. A strong storm developed over the center of the nation around the 20th of the month, and lifted north and east toward the area. Rain and wind would abound during this time, and in fact, precipitation would end as a bit of snow on the 22nd of the month. Although only a trace of snowfall was reported, this would be harbinger of storms to come!
An airmass more typical of the winter season would be upon the region by Christmas time. In fact, Santa’s sleigh had a light coating of snow to ride across on Christmas Eve night, and Christmas morning, as a light snow developed , depositing just under a half inch fluffy white powder.
This was a prelude to a more significant storm that would grip the region the two days after the Christmas holiday, bringing the region its first substantial snowfall of the season. A combined total of 7.8 inches of snow fell on the 26th and 27th of the month. The culprit? A strong coastal storm which fed off of Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico moisture, tracking from the Tennessee valley to the New England coast.
Fresh on the heels of this storm system was an introduction to cooler air, blustery winds, and another 4 inches of snow that would accumulate on the 29th as another storm developed over the center of the nation and made a beeline toward the Atlantic coast. Behind this system was an intrusion of truly chilly Arctic air that would invade the region after we rang in the New Year.
The climate data used for this article was obtained from various products issued by the National Weather Service at Albany, NY by clicking here.