<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> December 2008 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
Saint Cloud State University logo Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Saint Cloud Forecasts
National Weather Service logoNWS SCSU Big C logo SCSU/Weisman
SCSU NWA Chapter
Weisman Home
Making a Forecast
Ninth Northern Plains Winter Storm Conference: Coming October 14-15, 2014 in Saint Cloud!

Top of Page
(December 2008 Summary)
Jan-Jul Aug-Dec Year NWS Stats
December 20-21 Snowstorm December 30 Snowstorm
Historic Days with Lows <=-20°F NWS 2008 Minnesota Summary 2008 Minnesota Severe Weather 2008 Minnesota Snowstorms Dry Late Summer from Minnesota State Climatology Office

Saint Cloud Weather Summary for December 2008 and Annual Weather Summary for 2008

Snowiest December Since 1969 Finishes First Cold Year Since 1996 In St. Cloud

You don't need me to tell you that a lot of snow fell in St. Cloud during December 2008. You can see most of it piled outside. However, the numbers make December 2008 the fourth snowiest December in St. Cloud records and the snowiest since 1969. The St. Cloud Reformatory recorded 23.0 inches of snow in December 2008, more than 14 inches above normal. There were a total of 11 days with measurable snowfall, including 6.1 inches from a major storm on December 30, and daily record snowfalls on December 14 and December 20. St. Cloud even got missed by a couple of southeastern Minnesota snowstorms and did not have nearly the heaviest snowfall in any one storm. The frequent snows were part of a cold weather pattern that propelled many storms and persistently cold Canadian air from Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories into the Plains states.

The other part of this weather pattern was the persistently cold air. In December 2008, St. Cloud ended up with an average temperature of 8.5°F, 5.9°F colder than normal. That ranks as the 15th coldest out of the 128 Decembers in St. Cloud weather records and the coldest since December 2000. While high temperatures averaged nearly three degrees below normal,. the average low temperature in December was -3.3°F, 8.8°F colder than the normal average December low. That ranks as the 7th lowest December average minimum in St. Cloud records.

The heavy snow and the cold were definitely related. In our recent streak of mild winters, 2000-2001 stands out as one of the few cold winters since the winter of 1995-1996. One of the key elements of December 2000, the 3rd coldest December in St. Cloud records, was getting an early snow cover that persisted. Snow can reflect 80-90 percent of the sun's energy back to space, so having a bright white snow cover can allow arctic air masses to move into Minnesota without warming very much. Even last winter, only the second colder than normal winter since 1995-1996, we got a snow cover on December 1 and bare ground wasn't seen again until March 30. The quick snowfall on December 4 of this year kept mounting and mounting during the month. We had one day (December 15) during which the temperature never climbed above zero. On that day, St. Cloud tied records for coldest high and coldest average temperature. The following morning, the low temperature dropped to -24, setting a new record for December 16. December 2008 produced 5 days with a low temperature of at least -20 degrees. There are normally 5 days during the entire cold season with a low in the minus 20's. Another cold low on January 5 has pushed the seasonal total to 6, more than during the average cold season.

St. Cloud's melted preciptation totalled 1.58 inches, more than double the normal total. The high precipitation total missed by 0.05 inch cracking one of the 10 wettest Decembers.

The generally cold pattern has continued into early January. With even colder air sitting in Alaska right now and the continuation of the active storm track from the Canadian Rockies into the Plains, it looks like cold weather with frequent snow chances will continue for the next week.

Return to top of page
All climate data provided courtesy of NOAA/NWS
National Weather Service logoNOAA logo
and Minnesota Climatology Working Group, including the Minnesota State Climatologist's Office, University of Minnesota-Saint Paul Campus.

Interested in an undergraduate degree in meteorology?

Send comments to: raweisman@stcloudstate.edu
Last updated: Monday, January 5, 2009 3:17 PM
Background courtesy of aaa-backgrounds.com