Norfolk’s November & December Weather & a Yearly Summary for 2018

By Russell Russ

The year of 2018 was a wet one and the months of November and December were also above normal for precipitation with both months adding to our yearly surplus. The previous three years were all below normal for precipitation, but 2018 ended that – and then some. The conclusion of 2018 completes 87 years of continuous weather observations at the Norfolk 2SW weather station.

November’s average temperature of 34.1 degrees was 3.0 degrees below normal. Temperatures ranged from a high of 64 to a low of 3 degrees. Precipitation for the month totaled 8.65 inches, 4.06 inches above normal. It was Norfolk’s 5th wettest November on record. The monthly snowfall total of 12.9 inches was 6.3 inches above normal. It was tied with November 1940 as our 15th snowiest November on record. The first measurable snowfall of the season came on November 15-16 when we received a total of 8.5 inches. There were two record daily temperatures in November. The low of 4 degrees on November 22 tied the 1987 record and the low of 3 on November 23 surpassed the old record of 7 set in 1932.

December’s average temperature of 28.7 was 3.0 degrees above normal. Temperatures in December ranged from a high of 59 to a low of 11 degrees. It was tied with 1999 as Norfolk’s 14th warmest December. With a total precipitation amount of 4.69 inches, it was just 0.16 inch above normal. December’s monthly snowfall total of 4.4 inches was 12.6 inches below normal and ranked tied with 2014 as Norfolk’s 7th lowest December monthly snowfall. The high temperature of 59 on December 21 tied the 2013 record high temperature for that date. December was a cloudy, raw and damp month with little snow, more like a cold November than a December.

With the colder than normal November temperatures, many smaller local ponds were ice covered as early as November 16. Tobey Pond was ice covered on December 5 and stayed iced through the end of the month. Wangum Lake iced over in mid-December, but opened up later in the month and as of late December still was not iced for the season. These ice-in dates are about normal to perhaps a little earlier than normal. It was a close one, exactly like it was in 2017, but a Christmas Eve evening light snowfall solidified a White Christmas for Norfolk. Probably not for most of the rest of the state, but Norfolk just barely got one once again. Technically, one inch of snow on the ground makes for a White Christmas.

Norfolk’s weather for 2018 will be remembered as being very wet and kind of warm. It had its moments, a lot of snow early in the year, many warm temperature days and a lot of rain during most months, but for the most part there were no major or devastating weather events during the year for Norfolk. Seven out of twelve months were above normal for temperature, nine out of twelve were above normal for precipitation and four out of eight winter season months were above normal for snowfall. Throughout the entire year there were many high ranking months for temperature, precipitation and snowfall. A majority of the high ranks were due to warmer than normal monthly temperatures. Notable months were February for being the 3rd warmest, March for being the 4th snowiest, May for being the 2nd warmest, July for being tied as the 4th warmest, August for being the 2nd warmest, and November for being the 5th wettest.

The coldest day of the year was January 7 with a low temperature of minus 10 degrees. There were five days in 2018 with temperatures of zero or below zero (three were below zero). The warmest days of the year were July 1 and 2 when both reached the 92 degree mark. In total, there were three days in 2018 that recorded temperatures of 90 degrees or above. The yearly mean temperature was 46.5 degrees, 1.6 degrees above normal, ranking it as Norfolk’s 11th warmest year over the last 87 years. Last year was tied as 10th warmest.

The yearly precipitation amount of 66.97 inches was 14.45 inches above normal, ranking it as Norfolk’s 7th wettest year over the last 87 years. This is 21.14 inches more than last year, which ranked as Norfolk’s 19th driest year on record. No talk of precipitation deficits in 2018.

Snowfall for the 2018 calendar year totaled 108.4 inches, not very high ranking for yearly snowfall, but it was 18.6 inches above normal. January, February, April and November gave us good snow totals, but we can thank the month of March most of all since that month alone was 26 inches above normal for snowfall.