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and State Extremes

December 2002

Source NOAA/NWS Forecast Offices and compiled by NCDC.

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December Station or State Monthly Records
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This is the Top of the Page Icon Temperature / Dewpoint

1. Lansing, MI experienced the coldest temperature ever recorded this early in the season on December 3, 2002 at 18°F below zero. This is the coldest temperature record for 2002, replacing the 0°F temperature on January 2, 2002.

2. Blacksburg, VA experienced a temperature of 1°F below zero on December 7, 2002. This is the coldest temperature recorded since February 1996.

3. December 20, 2002 is the first day of 10°F below zero temperature for Fairbanks, AK. This is the latest first 10°F below zero in nearly a century of observations, the previous record was December 7, 1979. The normal low for December 20 is 16°F below zero.


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1. An all time yearly rainfall record for Lake Charles, LA was broken December 3rd, 2002. A new record of 81.89 inches of rain fell, breaking the old record of 79.88 inches set in 1919.

2. Tiyan, Guam had 19.67 inches of rain on December 8, 2002 from Typhoon Pongsona. This exceeds the previous record for a daily amount of rainfall ever recorded in December of 13.81 inches, produced by Typhoon Paka in 1997. With the help of Typhoon Pongsonga, Tiyan set a new monthly record for December 2002 with a maximum precipitation total of 25.73 inches, breaking the previous record of 23.48 inches set in 1997.

3. Melbourne, FL received 5.06 inches of rain on December 10, 2002. This is the highest daily rainfall amount ever recorded for the month of December since 1978 when it was 2.64 inches.

4. At Melbourne, FL a new monthly record was set for the month of December, 2002. A total of 10.28 inches was recorded breaking a previous record of 7.89 inches set in 1940, making December 2002 the wettest on record.

5. Several areas in Florida broke records for the second wettest December on record for 2002, they include the following:

  • Orlando had a total of 11.39 inches of rain breaking a previous record set in 1940 of 5.67 inches. The wettest December on record for Orlando occurred in 1997 with 12.63 inches of rainfall. The annual total for Orlando was 66.39 inches making 2002 the fourth wettest on record.
  • Vero Beach totalled 5.41 inches of rain for December 2002, breaking a previous record of 5.40 inches which was set in 1963. The wettest December on record for Vero Beach is 5.94 set in 1994.
  • Daytona Beach set a new record at 9.61 inches of rain breaking the previous record of 7.76 inches set in 1997. The wettest December for Daytona Beach occurred in 1983 with a total of 11.98 inches of rainfall.

6. Kansas City, MO has gone 41 consecutive days without measurable precipitation as of December 25, 2002. This is the longest dry spell to occur in Kansas City history, the previous record was 40 days from December 17th, 1922 - January 25th, 1923. The last day measurable precipitation fell was November 14th, 2002 when 0.13 of an inch of rain fell.

7. At Eureka, CA a new all-time record was set for maximum daily rainfall for any calendar day on December 27, 2002. A new record of 6.79 inches of rain fell breaking the previous record of 5.04 inches which was set on October 29, 1950. This event also broke the 24-hour rainfall record of 6.32 inches which was set on December 8th and 9th in 1996.

8. As of December 31, 2002, Des Moines, IA had been 50 days without measurable rainfall, 11/12/02 - 12/31/02. This set a new all time record for the longest number of consecutive days without measurable precipitation breaking the previous record of 45 days which was set in 1952 spanning the time period from October 2nd - November 15th.

9. Phoenix, AZ tied the record for the driest year in 2002. A total of 2.82 inches of precipitation fell tying the previous record that was set in 1956. The normal annual precipitation amount for Phoenix is 8.29 inches.

10. Yuma, AZ experienced the driest year ever recorded in 2002. Only a total of 0.03 of an inch of precipitation fell for the entire year. This broke the previous record of 0.25 of an inch that was set in 1956. The normal annual precipitation amount for Yuma is 3.01 inches.

11. Kansas City, MO tied the driest December record in December 2002. A total of 0.03 of an inch of precipitation was measured tying the previous record set in 1996.

12. Goodland, KS broke a precipitation record for the driest December on record in 2002. There was no precipitation recorded for the entire month, breaking the previous record of a trace of precipitation which was set in 1981. Goodland also experienced the third driest year in history with a total of 9.91 inches of rain for 2002. This is 9.85 inches below normal. The driest year ever recorded for Goodland, KS was 1956 when 9.19 inches of precipitation was recorded.

13. Eureka, CA set a new monthly record for maximum precipitation for December 2002. A total of 23.31 inches of rain fell breaking the old record of 21.26 inches which was set in 1996.

14. Two cities in Iowa broke records for dryness, they include the following:

  • Des Moines experienced the driest December in 2002. Only receiving a trace of precipitation, this broke the old record of 0.09 of an inch set in 1903. December 2002 for Des Moines also had the driest month ever recorded in history with only a trace of precipitation measured breaking the previous record of 0.03 of an inch which was set in both 1952 and 1969.
  • Ottumwa had the driest December in 2002 with 0.02 of an inch of rain being recorded breaking the previous record of 0.07 of an inch that was set in 1976.

15. Louisville, KY had a total of 7.62 inches of precipitation for the month of December 2002, making it the 5th wettest December on record. Louisville also experienced the fourth wettest year on record since 1872, the total precipitation for 2002 was 57.79 inches, the five wettest years on record are as follows:

  • 1996.........................63.76 inches
  • 1979.........................59.80 inches
  • 1950.........................59.39 inches
  • 2002.........................57.79 inches
  • 1990.........................57.47 inches

16. Denver, CO had the driest year ever recorded in history in 2002. A total of 7.48 inches of precipitation was measured which is 8.33 inches below the normal 16.55 inches for the year. This breaks the previous record of 7.51 inches which was set in 1954. Also, Denver had the 6th driest December in 2002 with 0.05 of an inch of precipitation measured, this continues the 17 consecutive months with below normal precipitation

17. Honolulu, HI set a new lowest December rainfall record for December 2002. A total of 0.04 inches of rain fell breaking the previous record of 0.06 inches that was recorded in December of 1976. Normal December rainfall for Honolulu is 2.85 inches.


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1. At Springfield, MO a new snowfall record was set for December, 2002. A monthly total of 20.5 inches broke the old record, which was set in 2000, of 18.2 inches.

2. Albany, New York experienced the 4th greatest December snowstorm on record from December 25 - 26 with a total accumulation of 21.0 inches of snow. This is also the 9th greatest snowstorm to ever occur in Albany overall.

3. Two cities in Iowa tied the least snowfall amount record in December 2002, they include the following:

  • Des Moines tied the snowfall record for the month of December with 0.10 of an inch, the previous record was set in 1889.
  • Ottumwa tied the least amount of snowfall with a trace in December 2002, tying the previous record set in 2001.


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1. None Reported.


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1. None Reported.


This is the Top of the Page Icon Miscellaneous

1. None Reported.


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