Average month closes average year

By Russell Russ

The last month of 2009 was fairly average all the way around. The month’s high temperature of 60 degrees was observed on December 3. This was a record high temperature for that date, beating the old record of 58 degrees set in 2001. The low temperature of 2 degrees was observed on December 18. The average mean temperature was 24.6 degrees, which was just 0.7 degree below normal. With numerous windy cold days, the second half of the month felt much colder than the first half. Wind chill temperatures hit 15 and 16 degrees below zero at times.

December’s total precipitation amount was 5.35 inches, 0.87 inches above normal. The monthly snowfall total of 17.6 inches was very near normal, being just 0.1 inch above normal. The largest snowfall of the month, and season so far, was the 7 inches that fell during the morning of December 9. Interestingly, that storm ended with a brief late afternoon thunderstorm and short rain shower. The snowfall total for this winter season to date, October through December, is 20.1 inches. This is 4.8 inches below the normal for this time period.

Monthly weather highlights include a beautiful bright rainbow that showed up around 8:00 a.m. on December 3. There was a large 36 degree temperature swing between 6:00 a.m. December 2 and 6:00 a.m. December 3, peaking at the monthly high of 60 degrees. Many smaller ponds, including Pond Hill Pond, iced over on December 8 while Wangum Lake and Tobey Pond iced over on December 18 and 19 respectively. By the end of the month Tobey had a good 7 inches of ice. Last year both Tobey and Wangum iced over on December 18. And, not to be forgotten was the New Year’s Eve blue moon which was unfortunately mostly cloud covered for most of the evening.

In review of Norfolk’s weather for the 2009 calendar year it was an average year for the most part. The yearly mean temperature was 44.9 degrees, just 0.2 degree above average. The yearly total precipitation amount was 55.70 inches. This was 3.20 inches above normal and 12.51 inches below the 2008 yearly total. Snowfall for the year totaled 77.0 inches, exactly the same amount of snow as was recorded for 2008. This was 14.1 inches below the yearly average, but by no means a record for least amount of yearly snowfall.

Here are the averages over the last ten year period, 2000 through 2009, with our overall 78 year averages shown in parenthesis for comparison. Yearly mean temperature was 46.0 degrees (44.7 degrees). Yearly total precipitation amount was 54.01 inches (52.50 inches). Yearly snowfall amount was 73.2 inches (91.1 inches).