National Climate Report - December 2006

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 2006

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.  Graphics based on final data are available on the Climate at a Glance page.

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.

National Overview:

December For information on local temperature and precipitation records during the month of December, please visit NCDC's Extremes page.

  • Drought conditions improved across parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and parts of northeast Texas as several winter storms traversed the central U.S. during December. Conversely, drought in south-central Texas intensified throughout the month as precipitation was scarce and temperatures remained mild. No other significant regions of drought developed or intensified during the month. For more information on drought during December, please visit the U.S. Drought page.

  • The Atlantic Hurricane Season came to an end with 9 named storms (4 tropical storms and 5 hurricanes - 2 major): a near-average season. No hurricanes made landfall along the U.S. mainland in 2006. For additional information on hurricanes in the atlantic basin in 2006, please visit the Atlantic Hurricane Season page.

  • In the East North Pacific basin, Tropical Storm Rosa and Hurricane Sergio formed. Hurricane Sergio was a strong category 2 storm and the strongest December hurricane on record in the East North Pacific basin. For the season, 19 named storms formed (8 tropical storms and 11 hurricanes - 6 major), which was above average. For additional information on hurricanes in the East North Pacific basin in 2006, please visit the East North Pacific Hurricane Season page.

  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are indicative of a moderate warm episode (El Niño) in the tropical Pacific basin. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Equatorial Pacific continued to be between 1.1°C and 1.3°C above average in all of the Niño regions, except for the Niño 1+2 region. Although considerable uncertainty exists with current forecasts, El Niño conditions are expected to continue during the next few months and are predicted to return to ENSO-neutral conditions sometime during late spring or early summer. For additional information on ENSO conditions, please visit the NCDC ENSO Monitoring page and the latest NOAA ENSO Advisory.
For additional details, see the Monthly and Seasonal Highlights section below and visit the December Climate Summary page. For details and graphics on weather events across the U.S. and the globe please visit NCDC's Global Hazards page.

Monthly and Seasonal Highlights:


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.
  • December 2006 was the 4th warmest December in the 1895-2006 record.  The preliminary nationally averaged temperature was 37.1°F (2.9°C), which was 3.7°F (2.1°C) above the 1901-2000 (20th century) mean.

  • December had near-average precipitation nationally, ranking as the 41st wettest December in the 1895-2006 record. An average of 2.44 inches (62 mm) fell over the contiguous U.S. in December, 0.2 inches (5 mm) above the 20th century mean for the month.

  • The 3-month period (October-December) was the 11th warmest in the 1895-to-present record, 1.8°F (1.0°C) above the 20th century mean. The preliminary nationally averaged October-December temperature was 45.3°F (7.4°C). A total of 7.73 inches (196 mm) of precipitation fell during this 3-month period, which corresponds to a ranking of 13th wettest.

  • The 6-month (July-December) national average temperature was the 9th warmest such period on record. The nationally-averaged temperature was 58.6°F (14.8°C), which was 1.4°F (0.8°C) above the 20th century mean. At 15.76 inches (400 mm), July-December precipitation was above average and ranked as the 18th wettest such period in the 1895-2006 record.

  • January - December 2006 is summarized in the 2006 annual climate review.

Regional and Statewide:
  • December precipitation across Kansas and Nebraska was 2nd wettest on record and 6th wettest for the East North Central region. Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin also ranked among the top ten wettest December periods on record. Parts of the Tennessee Valley, Mid-Atlantic and New England states experienced below average precipitation for the month. Minnesota, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut were each warmest on record during December. The Northeast region was also warmest. None of the contiguous states experienced below average temperatures during this period.

  • October-December precipitation across Louisiana was 3rd wettest on record. Eight additional states, confined to the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and New England, ranked among their top ten wettest such periods. Vermont, New Hampshire and New Jersey were each record warmest during the October-December period. Ten additional states, primarily in the Northeast, ranked among the top ten warmest such periods on record.

  • In the Northeast region, October-December precipitation was much above average. The West region ranked 33rd driest during this 3-month period.

  • The past 6-months (July-December) temperatures were above- to much-above-average across 8 of the 9 climate regions, with the Northeast and the East North Central regions having their 4th and 7th warmest such periods on record, respectively. Precipitation across the Southwest region was the 7th wettest July-December period on record. The Northeast ranked 9th wettest and the West region ranked 27th driest during this period in 2006.

  • July - December temperatures were much above average across most of the northern third of the contiguous U.S. and parts of the Mid-Atlantic. New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island were each record warmest for this period. Sixteen states had temperatures which were much above average during the July to December period. Indiana ranked 2nd wettest such 6-month period with over 28 inches (719 mm) of accumulated precipitation. New Mexico and Colorado experienced their 4th and 5th wettest such period on record, respectively.

  • The January-December regional temperature across the West North Central and Northeast regions was 2nd warmest in the 1895-2006 record. The South and East North Central regions were 4th warmest. Every other region was either above or much above average during this period. The Northeast region was 6th wettest during the year-to-date period.

  • The January-December period across Alaska was near the the 1971-2000 mean: the 33rd warmest year on record and the coolest such period since 1999.

  • January - December 2006 was either warmer or much-warmer-than-average for all of the contiguous U.S. New Jersey was record warmest for the year. Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont and New Hampshire were each 2nd warmest on record for this period. New Hampshire also ranked 2nd wettest for the year and Indiana 3rd wettest. Seven additional states ranked among the top ten wettest such periods on record. Florida ranked 3rd driest and Wyoming and Georgia each 5th driest.

See NCDC's Monthly Extremes web-page for weather and climate records for the month of December.

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 available on the Climate at a Glance page.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Climate Report for December 2006, published online January 2007, retrieved on August 22, 2019 from