A Slow Start For Wintertime Weather

By Russell Russ

The final two months of the year bring us closer to wintertime. This year there were glimpses of wintertime weather in November and December, but for the most part, winter held off until after the ball dropped on the New Year. What was very notable was the change to less precipitation during the final two months of the year. Our string of much wetter than normal months from July through October was broken. November and December were both well below normal for snowfall and total precipitation. December was high ranking for warmth. Most local ponds started icing over in late November into mid-December, but the ice then went in and out several times and most ponds were not fully iced by the end of December. November, the potential predictor month for winter, was colder and drier than normal. Could that mean this winter will be cold and dry? Time will tell.

November’s average temperature of 36.6 degrees was 0.5 degree below normal. It was over five degrees colder than November 2020. Temperatures ranged from a high of 63 to a low of 15 degrees. The high of 63 degrees on November 18 tied the 1963 record high for that date. Total precipitation for the month totaled 2.37 inches, 2.21 inches below normal. It was Norfolk’s 11th driest November over the last 90 years. Norfolk’s driest November was in 2012 with just 0.84 inch. There was just 1.5 inches of snowfall for the month, 5.1 inches below normal. The first flakes of the season came on November 14 and the first measurable snowfall came on November 26.

December’s average temperature of 32.3 degrees was 6.5 degrees above normal, ranking it as Norfolk’s 7th warmest December. Temperatures in December ranged from a high of 60 to a low of 13 degrees. There were three days with record daily high temperatures: December 11 with 59 (was 56 in 1979), December 16 with 60 (was 55 in 1982) and December 17 with 52 (was 50 in 1984). Norfolk’s warmest December was in 2015 with an average temperature of 39.5 degrees. With a monthly total precipitation amount of 3.01 degrees, it was 1.56 inches below normal. December’s monthly snowfall total of 4.1 inches was 12.7 inches below normal. Unlike last year, Norfolk did have a white Christmas this year, although with just one inch on the ground in the morning it just barely made it, and the snow was gone by the next morning. This December ranked as Norfolk’s 7th least snowy December over the last 90 years. Norfolk’s least snowy December on record was in 1943 with a monthly snowfall total of just 0.6 inch.