Norfolk’s November & December Weather & a Yearly Summary for 2019

By Russell Russ

The year of 2019 came to a close with winter conditions making the headlines. November was considerably colder than normal and December had an above normal snowfall total. Unlike some recent years when winter seemed to be delayed until January, the close of 2019 took place with winter conditions firmly in place. To cap off the year, December closed out with an ice storm that featured thunderstorms and large hail. The conclusion of 2019 completes 88 years of continuous daily weather observations at the Norfolk 2SW weather station.

November’s average temperature of 33.3 degrees was 3.8 degrees below normal. It was Norfolk’s coldest November since 1996 and was tied with 1932 for being Norfolk’s 11th coldest November over the last 88 years. Temperatures ranged from a high of 67 to a low of 10 degrees. The low of 10 degrees on November 13 was a new daily record low temperature for that date, surpassing the old record of 17 from 1933. Precipitation for the month totaled 4.31 inches, 0.29 inch below normal. The monthly snowfall total of 5.2 inches was 1.5 inches below normal. The first measureable snowfall of the season came on November 7 when 0.9 inch was recorded. There was one day in November with rare thunder snow. With November being nearly four degrees colder than normal it might possibly indicate that we are in for a cold winter.

December’s average temperature of 26.9 was 1.2 degrees above normal. Temperatures in December ranged from a high of 50 to a low of 3 degrees. There were no daily temperature records set this month. With a total precipitation amount of 6.82 inches, it was 2.30 inches above normal. It was Norfolk’s 9th wettest December over the last 88 years. December’s monthly snowfall total of 20.8 inches was 4.0 inches above normal. Norfolk experienced two days in December with thunder snow. An ice storm December 29-31, with two waves of thunder and lightning, one of which produced nickel to quarter-sized hail, was clearly the most notable weather event of the month.

With colder than normal November temperatures, many smaller local ponds were ice covered by November 13, but then all were ice free by later in the month, only to be iced over once again by December 1. Tobey Pond and Wangum Lake iced over initially on December 7, but then went out and back in several times through the end of the year. By December 31 most local lakes and ponds were ice covered. It was a close call once again for having a white Christmas, but most of Norfolk did in fact have one (just barely). Most other parts of the state did not have one this year.

Norfolk’s weather for 2019 was fairly unremarkable. January to May were all below normal for snowfall. March, May and November were on the cold side while April and July were on the warm side. There was a nice stretch of continually pleasant weather from mid-June through September. Nine out of twelve months were above normal for temperature, seven out of twelve were below normal for precipitation and seven out of eight winter season months were below normal for snowfall. Notable months were March for being the 3rd driest March and July for being the 3rd warmest July and also the 3rd warmest month of any month. During the entire year there were two days with record daily low temperatures and six days with daily record high temperatures.

The coldest days of the year were January 21 and 31 with low temperatures of minus 12 degrees. There were seven days in 2019 with temperatures of zero or below zero. The warmest days of the year were July 20 and 21 when both reached 90 degrees. In total, there were two days in 2019 that recorded temperatures of 90 degrees or above. The yearly mean temperature was 45.6 degrees, just 0.6 degree above normal, ranking it tied with 1932 as Norfolk’s 16th warmest year over the last 88 years.

The yearly total precipitation amount of 53.23 inches was just 0.62 inch above normal. Overall, it was a very average year for total precipitation. The yearly snowfall amount of 65.3 inches was 24.5 inches below normal, ranking it as Norfolk’s 15th least snowy year over the last 88 years. Had it not been for December’s above average snowfall, the yearly total would have been considerably less and higher ranking for least snowfall.