National Overview - December 2007


NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.

Maps and Graphics:


December Most Recent 3 Months Most Recent 6 Months
Most Recent 12 Months Year-to-Date US Percent Area Very Wet/Dry/Warm/Cold
Annual Summary for 2007

PLEASE NOTE: All temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data.  The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages.  As final data become available, the most up-to-date statistics and graphics will be available on the Climate Monitoring Products page and the U.S. Climate at a Glance Web site.


For graphics covering periods other than those mentioned above or for tables of national, regional, and statewide data from 1895—present, for December, last 3 months or other periods, please go to the Climate at a Glance page.

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National Overview:


Temperature Highlights
  • For the contiguous United States, the average temperature for December was 33.6°F (0.9°C), which was 0.2°F (0.1°C) above the 20th century mean and ranked as the fiftieth coolest December on record, based on preliminary data.
  • December was the tenth warmest on record for the Southeast U.S. Temperatures were below normal in the East North Central, Southwest, West North Central and West regions.
Precipitation Highlights
  • This was the eighteenth wettest December in the 1895—2007 record. An average of 2.73 inches (69 mm) fell across the contiguous U.S. this month, which is 0.5 inches (13 mm) above average.
  • December precipitation was above average across much of the Continental U.S. and much above normal in the Central and East North Central regions.
  • Both Iowa and Ohio had their 4th wettest Decembers on record.
Other Items of Note
  • La Niña conditions persisted in the tropical Pacific Ocean throughout December. Equatorial sea-surface temperatures generally remained below average from the Date Line eastward to the South American coast and remained above average in the western Pacific. According to the CPC, nearly all of the dynamical and statistical models are forecasting moderate-to-strong La Niña conditions through Spring. La Niña conditions may result in wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and central U.S. and drier than normal conditions in the southwestern and southeastern U.S., as well as above average temperatures in the southern two-thirds of the U.S. in the next several months. For additional information on ENSO conditions, please visit the NCDC ENSO Monitoring page and the latest NOAA ENSO Advisory.
Alaska:
  • Alaska had its 18th warmest December since records began in 1918, with a temperature 3.40°F (1.89°C) above the 1971—2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 10th warmest October—December on record, with a temperature 4.25°F (2.36°C) above the 1971—2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 4th warmest July—December on record, with a temperature 3.31°F (1.84°C) above the 1971—2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 15th warmest January—December on record, with a temperature 1.51°F (0.84°C) above the 1971—2000 average.
For additional details about recent temperatures and precipitation across the U.S., see the Monthly and Seasonal Highlights section below and visit the December Climate Summary page. For information on local temperature and precipitation records during the month of December, please visit NCDC's Extremes page. For details and graphics on weather events across the U.S. and the globe please visit NCDC's Global Hazards page.

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Regional Highlights:

These regional summaries were provided by the six Regional Climate Centers and reflect conditions in their respective regions. These six regions differ spatially from the nine climatic regions of the National Climatic Data Center.

Northeast | Midwest | Southeast | High Plains | Southern | Western

Northeast Region: (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Temperatures for the month of December averaged above normal in the southern half of the region and below normal in New England and New York State. This resulted in a regional average that was exactly normal. Temperature departures ranged from 2.3°F (1.2°C) below normal in Maine to 3.2°F (1.8°C) above normal in West Virginia.

  • December was wet in the Northeast. Precipitation totals ranged from 120% of normal in Connecticut to 163% of normal in West Virginia where it was the 7th wettest December in 113 years. December 2007 was also the 6th wettest in Pennsylvania, the 10th wettest in New York and the 11th wettest in the Northeast. Dry conditions eased; according to the US Drought Monitor, only the extreme southern tip of West Virginia and Maryland's Eastern Shore were still experiencing severe drought. To the north, abnormally dry conditions were limited to Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut. According to the December 29, 2007 long-term Palmer Drought Severity Index, most of the northern half of the region ranged from unusually moist to extremely moist.

  • Cool temperatures, above normal precipitation and an active weather pattern brought above normal snowfall to parts of the Northeast in December. Concord, NH, with 44.5 inches (113 cm) of snow this month, broke the long-standing December record of 43.0 inches (109 cm), set in 1876. Boston, MA needed only 0.3 additional inches (0.8 cm) of snow to break the record last set in 1970. Their December total of 27.7 inches (70 cm) made this month the 2nd snowiest since 1891.
For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center)
  • December was a cold and snowy month across the northwestern half of the region, generally north of a Springfield, MO to St. Louis to Chicago to Detroit line. Temperatures in the northwestern half of the Midwest ranged from 4°F (2°C) below normal in western Iowa to near normal in eastern Michigan. In the southeastern half of the Midwest, temperatures ranged from 1°F (0.5°C) above normal in southeastern Missouri to 4°F (2°C) in southeastern Kentucky.

  • December was a wet month across all but a few isolated areas of the Midwest. Precipitation was heaviest in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, as well as along the Ohio River. The only areas with slightly below normal precipitation were portions of southern lower Michigan and extreme southeastern Kentucky. At the end of the month the U.S Drought Monitor continued to depict extreme drought in far southeastern Kentucky, and small areas of moderate drought in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, and Illinois. At various times during the month, rivers in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky approached or exceeded flood stage as heavy rain and/or runoff from melting snow caused rivers and streams to rise.

  • The entire Midwest received some measurable snow during December and snowfall was above normal across the entire region except for the extreme south. On December 16, snow covered the Midwest to south of the Ohio River in the wake of a series of storms that moved through the nation's midsection.
For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest during December, see the weekly summaries in the MRCC Midwest Climate Watch page.

Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Persistent drought continued to dominate the climate across much of the Southeast region, creating an ever-increasing number of water supply problems. At the beginning of December, approximately 36% of the region suffered from exceptional drought. As the result of two significant rainfall events during the second half of the month, the drought coverage was down to 22% by the end of the year. Some relief came across portions of the Florida panhandle, the Atlantic Coast and the extreme northwestern portions of Virginia.

  • Heavy rain from these events produced between 4 and 7 inches (102 and 178 mm) across most of the region, but was particularly intense across the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia. In Savannah, Georgia, 7.30 inches (185 mm) fell in a 24 hour period spanning December 20-21 and contributed to a monthly total of 9.44 inches (240 mm), their wettest December on record. The annual precipitation record in Savannah was being threatened by the lack of rainfall during 2007 until the December rain events.

  • With temperatures running some 4-8°F (2-4°C) higher than normal throughout December, and with low relative humidity in many areas, the threat of forest fires was added to the drought concerns.
For more information, please go to the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.

High Plains Region: (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center)
  • Precipitation was above normal for much of the southern High Plains region as parts of Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas experienced an active winter storm pattern for much of December. Liquid precipitation totals were 200% of normal or higher for much of the southern High Plains region, while the western Dakotas remained dry. On December 10, a large storm system moved through central and eastern Kansas bringing record precipitation amounts and sub-freezing temperatures, resulting in a deadly mix of ice and heavy snow. For the month, Grand Junction, CO reported 2.05 inches (52 mm) of precipitation, which broke the previous December record of 1.89 inches (48 mm) set in 1951.

  • Those regions receiving above normal precipitation amounts also experienced below normal mean temperature for the month of December, with departures of 4-8°F (2-4°C) below normal for parts of Nebraska and northern Kansas. The western Dakotas experienced above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation, continuing their warm and dry trend through 2007.

For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
  • In the Southern Region, average temperatures were approximately 2 to 4°F (1 to 2°C) below normal throughout most of Oklahoma and north central Texas. Overnight lows in these parts reached the single digits on several occasions. In fact, on the 29th of the month, Beaver, OK reported a temperature of 1°F (-17°C). In west-central Texas and northern Arkansas, temperatures deviated only slightly from the monthly mean. Elsewhere, average temperatures were generally above normal by approximately 2 to 6°F (1 to 3°C), with the exception of central Tennessee and west-central Mississippi, where values ranged from 6 to 8°F (3 to 4°C) above normal.

  • During the month of December, precipitation totals were generally above normal in the north and below normal in the south. In southwestern Texas, conditions were quite dry with most stations reporting less than one inch of precipitation for the entire month, which is 50 percent or less of normal precipitation for most areas. Similar percentages were also observed in south central Tennessee and northeastern Mississippi. In Louisiana, the only area of above normal precipitation occurred predominately in the southeast portion of the state. In northern Arkansas, precipitation was above normal, with the highest values across the north central and northeast portions of the state.

  • In Tennessee, lower than normal precipitation in the central and eastern portions of the state allowed drought conditions to persist. As was the case last month, the severe drought conditions were concentrated in the eastern half of the state. As of the end of December, 53.8 percent of the state was in severe drought or worse, of which 46.8 percent was classified as extreme drought, and 19.9 percent as exceptional drought. Small areas of moderate drought were present in south central Texas and northwestern Oklahoma.
For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
  • December 2007 showed no great temperature disparities throughout the West. Northern tiers were slightly above normal while the Intermountain and Southwest were slightly below. Precipitation varied greatly with the Intermountain and Southwest well above normal and most of Montana east of the divide extremely dry. The Pacific coast region was mostly normal to slightly above.

  • Alamosa, CO, reported their wettest and snowiest December on record. Combine that with 10 days of minimum temperatures at or below -20°F (-29°C) (2nd greatest December total) and that led to a very wintry month. Many valley locations in the West were mired in strong cold air inversions. Vernal, UT, had its 6th coldest December on record dating back 78 years with many afternoons struggling to reach single digits. Grand Junction, CO, recorded their wettest December in 107 years; Lander, WY, their second wettest (and all-time snowiest); Salt Lake City their 4th wettest and 2nd snowiest; and Prescott, AZ, their wettest December in 40 years. Conversely, Helena, MT measured only 0.01 inch (0.25 mm) for the month. By the end of the month, mountain snowpack was near or above normal for most of the West except for the Sierra Nevada of California, which languished at 53% of normal.

  • An extremely powerful storm slammed into the Pacific Northwest during December 2-4. Heavy rain and strong winds produced several power outages and contributed to at least 4 deaths. Interstate 5 at Chehalis, WA, was flooded and closed for almost 2 days. Precipitation totals exceeded 14 inches (356 mm) in some areas with winds topping out at 130 mph (209 km/hr) along coastal Oregon.
For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Alaska: (Information provided by Audrey Rubel at NOAA NWS Alaska Region Headquarters.)
  • Heavy rains, strong onshore winds, high tide and storm surge, and potentially frozen ground contributed to flooding between Chignik Lake and Port Heiden on the Alaska Peninsula December 1-3, 2007. The ASOS rain gage at Chignik had been out of commission since November 3, 2007, so no accurate rainfall amounts are available for Chignik Lake. Three houses in the low-lying lake shore area were inundated, with one house floating off its foundation, a road culvert was damaged, and the road over the culvert was washed out. Damage estimates for this probable record flood event were nearly $700,000.

  • National Weather Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Environment Yukon snow course and telemetered snow sites indicate accumulated snow water equivalents throughout interior Alaska are generally less than half of normal for this period. Accumulations in the upper Chugach Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula are near normal, while accumulations in the Canadian Yukon River basin are slightly above normal, and snow water equivalents in the southeast Alaska panhandle are up to 150% of normal.

  • The freezing degree day accumulations through the end of December have been below normal across most of Alaska, with near normal freezing degree day accumulations near Bristol Bay and in the southeast. Kodiak Island registered 300% of normal for freezing degree days.

See NCDC's Monthly Extremes web-page for weather and climate records for the month of December. For additional national, regional, and statewide data and graphics from 1895-present, for December, the last 3 months or other periods, please visit the Climate at a Glance page.

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PLEASE NOTE: All of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data.  The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages.  Graphics based on final data are provided on the Climate Monitoring Products page and on the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for December 2007, published online January 2008, retrieved on August 2, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2007/12.