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December 2012 Thornton weather recap: Warmer, drier than normal again

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 3:06pm MDT

In the immediate days following the end of the month most of us are likely to remember the bitter cold that closed it out.  However an unseasonably mild start to December 2012 made the month not only finish warmer than average but also drier than normal.

December started out very mild with the first eight days seeing overall average temperatures 12.7 degrees above normal.  Colder air moved in after that for a few days before above normal temperatures returned again and continued through the 18th.

Another three day cold spell arrived but mild temperatures returned on the 21st.  Christmas Eve ushered in a big chill that lingered through the end of the month.

Overall December’s average temperature in Denver as measured at Denver International Airport was 31.2 degrees.  This was 1.2 degrees above the 1981 to 2000 average of 31.0 degrees.  Here in Thornton we were closer to average with a monthly average temperature of 30.5 degrees.

Denver temperatures ranged from a high of 69 degrees on the 5th down to a bitter cold low of -2 on the 26th.  Eight days failed to reach high temperatures above the freezing mark in the Mile High City and it recorded two days with low temperatures at or below zero.

Thornton saw its warmest temperature on the 1st of the month with a high of 67.6 degrees and its coldest temperature of 00.4 degrees on the 26th.  Like Denver, Thornton recorded eight days with high temperatures failing to reach 32 degrees.

Precipitation as recorded at DIA was slightly below normal during December.  0.27 inch was recorded as compared to the average of 0.35 inch.  Thornton was unfortunately drier as we only recorded 0.19 inch of precipitation.

Snowfall fell short of average as well during the month.  Denver recorded 5.2 inches and Thornton 3.7 inches.  On average the Mile High City records 8.4 inches during the month.

With the end of the month, Denver’s 2012 – 2013 seasonal snowfall total falls further behind average.  To date it is 8.8 inches below normal.  While the snowpack has rebounded considerably thanks to the storms in the latter half of the month, it is currently at 72% of normal.

Click here to view Thornton’s December 2012 Climate Summary.

Thornton, Colorado December 2012 Temperature Summary. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Thornton, Colorado December 2012 Temperature Summary. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Thornton, Colorado December 2012 Precipitation Summary. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Thornton, Colorado December 2012 Precipitation Summary. (ThorntonWeather.com)

From the National Weather Service:

...THE DENVER CO CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER 2012... 

CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1872 TO 2012

WEATHER         OBSERVED          NORMAL  DEPART  LAST YEAR`S
                 VALUE   DATE(S)  VALUE   FROM    VALUE  DATE(S)
                                          NORMAL
................................................................ 
TEMPERATURE (F)
RECORD
 HIGH              79   12/05/1939
 LOW              -25   12/22/1990
                        12/24/1876
HIGHEST            69   12/05        65      -4       58  12/18
LOWEST             -2   12/26       -10       8       -5  12/06
AVG. MAXIMUM     44.2              42.8     1.4     38.5
AVG. MINIMUM     18.3              17.1     1.2     14.8
MEAN             31.2              30.0     1.2     26.6
DAYS MAX >= 90      0               0.0     0.0        0
DAYS MAX = .01         5               4.1     0.9        6
DAYS >= .10         1               1.1    -0.1        3
DAYS >= .50         0               0.1    -0.1        0
DAYS >= 1.00        0               0.0     0.0        0
GREATEST
 24 HR. TOTAL    0.20   12/24 TO 12/25

SNOWFALL (INCHES)
RECORDS
 TOTAL           57.4   1913
TOTALS            5.2               8.4

DEGREE_DAYS
HEATING TOTAL    1038              1086     -48     1182
 SINCE 7/1       2233              2468    -235     2434
COOLING TOTAL       0                 0       0        0
 SINCE 1/1       1236               769     467      964

FREEZE DATES
RECORD
 EARLIEST     09/08/1962
 LATEST       06/08/2007
EARLIEST                        10/07
LATEST                          05/05
................................................... 

WIND (MPH)
AVERAGE WIND SPEED              9.9
RESULTANT WIND SPEED/DIRECTION   3/215
HIGHEST WIND SPEED/DIRECTION    38/270    DATE  12/03
HIGHEST GUST SPEED/DIRECTION    48/290    DATE  12/03

SKY COVER
POSSIBLE SUNSHINE (PERCENT)   MM
AVERAGE SKY COVER           0.60
NUMBER OF DAYS FAIR            1
NUMBER OF DAYS PC             22
NUMBER OF DAYS CLOUDY          8

AVERAGE RH (PERCENT)     49

WEATHER CONDITIONS. NUMBER OF DAYS WITH
THUNDERSTORM              0     MIXED PRECIP               0
HEAVY RAIN                0     RAIN                       0
LIGHT RAIN                0     FREEZING RAIN              0
LT FREEZING RAIN          0     HAIL                       0
HEAVY SNOW                0     SNOW                       2
LIGHT SNOW                8     SLEET                      0
FOG                      10     FOG W/VIS

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