Norfolk’s December Weather and a Yearly Summary for 2014

By Russell Russ

After late November’s big snow storm and cold temperatures, it seemed like winter was getting an early start here in Norfolk. Ted Childs, Norfolk’s original weatherman and founding father of the weather station, was known to say that a cold, snowy November often means that a cold, snowy winter will follow, but winter certainly didn’t hit us too hard in December. It was cloudy for a good part of the month with above average precipitation, but the temperatures were on the warm side and the snowfall was way below normal.

The monthly average temperature of 30.3 degrees was 4.8 degrees warmer than normal. This December was tied with 1994 as the tenth warmest December in the last 83 years. The month’s low temperature of 11 degrees was observed on December 8 and the high temperature of 57 degrees was observed on December 25, which made it the warmest Christmas Day since we began observations in 1932.

December’s total precipitation amount was 4.97 inches, 0.43 inch above normal. The monthly snowfall total of 4.4 inches was 12.9 inches below normal. With a foot of snow on the ground at Thanksgiving, it seemed that a white Christmas would be a given this year, but December started with just four inches on the ground and that was the deepest it got all month. By December 23 there was just a trace of snow in a few areas, and then it was gone. The snowfall total for this winter season, October through December, was 20.7 inches, four inches below normal.

Many smaller ponds in the area initially iced over in late November. The thin ice cover stayed until mid-December, but was mostly gone by Christmas. Smaller ponds finally iced over for the season on December 29 while Tobey Pond and Wangum Lake iced over on December 30.

In review of Norfolk’s weather for the 2014 calendar year, it was really fairly average. The yearly average mean temperature was 44.6 degrees, 0.2 degree cooler than normal. It was Norfolk’s coolest year since 2003, and before that you have to go back to 1997 to find a cooler year than the one we just had. For monthly temperatures, five months were below normal, six were above normal and one was normal. Globally, however, 2014 was the warmest year since global temperatures were first recorded in 1880.

The yearly total precipitation amount was 55.61 inches, 2.82 inches above normal. July was the wettest July on record and the ninth wettest month of any month on record. September was the driest September on record and the seventeenth driest month of any month on record. The yearly snowfall amount of 85.7 inches was 4.8 inches below normal, but it was a year with a few snowfall extremes. February was the eighth snowiest February in 83 continuous years of weather observations here at the Norfolk station, March came in with the second lowest snowfall amount of any March and then November came in as the ninth snowiest November on record.