December Weather

Photo credit: John Hadden

Photo credit: John Hadden

December 5, 2017| Categories: Eye on the Sky, Mark Breen, Skywatch Almanac Weather, Weather

Skywatch Almanac is written by Mark Breen, senior meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum.

Winter is now stalking the region, sometimes boldly covering the landscape and declaring itself, sometimes haphazardly experimenting with different versions of winter storms and skies.  Should a storm track become established along the East Coast, a series of storms can quickly leave a deep, early snowcover.

Other years watch storms ride through the St. Lawrence Valley, often starting as snow, changing to an icy mix, and then turn to rain, only to end as snow, leaving a crusty remnant of a skier’s promise.  Even so, snow comes to stay early in December over the higher terrain, and in the warmest valleys by New Years.  It is only a matter of time.

“If Christmas finds a bridge, he’ll break it, If he finds none, he’ll make one.”

(If things are frozen, they’ll thaw; if not they’ll freeze)

Weather Highlights

9 – 1902:  Arctic cold dropped temperatures below zero;  Burlington’s high was 0, Newport’s low was 26 below zero.

13 – 1915 One of the snowiest winters of the 20th century got underway with 1 to 2 feet of snow over Vermont and New Hampshire.

18 – 1961:  Heavy snow and freezing rain caused wide-spread power outages.  Mainly snow fell in northern VT, amounting to 8 to 14 inches, while 6 inches of snow and ice accumulated south.

25 – 1980: Bitter cold modern Christmas; St. Johnsbury –22 at 8 AM, -15 degrees at 4 PM; West Burke –35 on the morning of the 26th.

27 – 1866:  Winter’s late start was emphatic; a blizzard with tremendous drifts left 1 foot of snow in Lancaster, NH and 25 inches in Wilmington, VT, called the “worst storm in 20 years”.

30 –  1917:  The beginning of the WWI cold wave sent thermometers to record levels; coldest ever in St. Johnsbury at -43 degrees.

December Records & Averages

Warmest: 35.8°F in 2015

Coldest: 4.6°F in 1989

Wettest: 7.91 inches in 1973

Snowiest: 53.7 inches in 2007