<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> December 2006 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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(December 2006 Summary)
Jan-Jul Aug-Dec Year NWS Stats
Dry Summer 2006
Historic Days with Highs >=100°F Heavy Late April Rain  August 24 Tornadoes August 24 Heavy Rain  Sept 12 rain Rogers Tornado
3rd warmest year in Twin Cities Record low Lake Superior levels

Saint Cloud Weather Summary for December 2006 and Annual Weather Summary for 2006

Ridiculously Warm December Finishes 5th Warmest 2006 in Saint Cloud

Dec. Precipitation Jumps from 1/3 Normal Rainfall to Nearly Double Normal in Last Weekend

Yet another extremely warm alleged winter month was registered in December in Saint Cloud. The average temperature of 25.6°F was 11.2°F degrees above normal, pushing December 2006 into a tie with 1918 as the 7th warmest December in Saint Cloud history and the warmest December since 1959. How warm was it? The average high (33.8°F) and average low temperature (17.4°F) this December would be typical of Thanksgiving (November 22-23). There were four new daily record temperatures set in December, all in the last 9 days and three of them being mild lows. This warm December helped to propel Saint Cloud to tie for the 5th warmest calendar year on record (more below).

Believe it or not, December 2006 could have been even warmer. We did have a week of late December-early January-like cold during the first week of the month with an average high of 20.9°F and an average low of 0.7°F. There were three days with a high of 20 degrees or colder and three sub-zero lows. But, that cold outbreak, which began on November 29, drained the coldest of the cold air out of northern North America. Without that first week, December 8-31 averaged 29.6°F, which would be the warmest December by far, if it held for the whole month..A change of the main steering wind flow to a strong southern US track, typical of El Nino year, and the lack of cold air available in central Canada created the extreme warmth of the rest of the month.

During the past week, some cold air has reestablished itself in extreme northern Canada, so there is a possibility of experiencing real winter weather in January. However, we really won't see it during this first week of the month, since the new snow cover, according to the NOHRSC snow survey, is not very well widespread through the Northern Plains. Even if we do get more normal weather in the next two months, the extreme December warmth will make it very difficult to keep the 2006-2007 winter from being the 9th warm winter out of the past 10 seasons.

The heavy rain and wet snow (in some areas) of December's final weekend turned all the precipitation statistics upside down. Going into the final weekend, Saint Cloud had only received 0.29 inches, about a third of the normal precipitation. However, the weekend storm dumped 1.24 inches of liquid precipitation. This shot the December total rainfall to 1.53 inches, nearly double the normal amount of 0.83 inches. So, December 2006 tied with 1936 for the 11th wettest December in Saint Cloud records. This late season storm, which fell mainly in the form of rain in Saint Cloud, broke daily precipitation records on both December 30 and 31.

The precipitation did turn over to snow on December 31, adding to Saint Cloud's meager snowfall totals. A total of 2.4 inches of snow fell during December, only about a third of the normal 7.8 inches. This ranks as the 22nd lowest December snowfall total, behind recent years like 2002 (1.7 inches) and 2004 (2.0 inches). Saint Cloud did narrowly miss more snowfall. The major storm on the last weekend of the year produced a moderate snowfall from the western Twin Cities to Mankato (NWS Chanhassen report) and in parts of northeastern Minnesota (NWS Duluth report). Still, the mild conditions kept the threat of sleet and freezing rain nearby in most of December's storms.

To this point, the seasonal Saint Cloud snowfall has been only 2.7 inches, more than 15 inches below the normal total of 18.3 inches. The lack of snow, combined with the early month cold, has allowed some fairly deep frost penetration into the ground. This could lead to a slow start to the growing season as well as possibly damaging some crops without the protection of snow cover. The frozen ground likely caused most of the rain during the past weekend to run directly into lakes and streams, although that would help the low streamflow, especially in the northern half of the state.


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Last updated: Thursday, December 6, 2007 7:29 AM
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