Early warm weather means nothing for the entire winter.

It’s only 10 days into December and people are already writing off this winter as being warm with no snow. Kind of funny so early to be downplaying the rest of the winter on just 10 days worth of weather. We are only 11% of the way into meteorological winter. Which means this is the equivalent of saying you are going to lose a football game 6 minutes into the 1st quarter.

So I looked at the previous warm starts to December and what kind of snow we had. Just snow mind you not cold, that I will do another day. So far 9 days in we are currently on pace for the 5th warmest December since 1939. Below you can see this December is red and the average temperatures and rankings since 1939.

12-10-2012 11-32-30 AM

The warmer starts to December that rank above this year are 1998,1951,1982 and 2001. So what kind of snow did we see in those winters?


So 9 days in is kind of meaningless and on top of that we will drop even further down the list as cooler air returns tomorrow through the rest of the week. There are all indications the second half of the month will be much cooler. I have much more confidence in it turning cold right now than snowy. The storm track is just too hard to nail down currently. Then timing it out with the cold air is always a huge challenged.

For what it’s worth here’s the short-range climate models looking towards the end of December and early January. These are temperature departures from average.


It’s still early and as I’ve posted before most of our snow historically comes after the first of the year.

  • wxbrad

    Want further evidence look at last year earliest snow in NC history at Beech mountain on Sept 30th! Rest of the winter nothing, short term weather doesn’t = long term pattern.

  • My concern is not with the warmth, its with the lack of precipitation that we have had this year. We are close to 10 inches in the hole, however, as you pointed out, pattern changes can and do happen, and in fact I believe we are starting to see more storm systems coming through here.

    • wxbrad

      Yes worried about rain precip too, we often have lots if snow in dry winters.

      • I really enjoy reading your blog and your forecasts. They are helpful to me as well. I’m currently in the Meteorology program over at UNCC. In fact I will be in John Wendel’s Weather Communications class this spring and looking forward to it.