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Winter, where art thou?

Forecast graphic 190101Start of the season has been marked by warm temperatures, lack of snow

By Bob Fenske and Bob Steenson

Not only wasn’t it a white Christmas, it was almost a no-coat-needed Christmas — typical of much of December.

Nicole Batzek laughed when asked about the relative lack of winter in Northeast Iowa last month.

“All I can tell snow lovers is to be patient,” said the meteorologist based out of the National Weather Service’s La Crosse, Wisconsin, office. “We’ve been stuck on the warm side, I guess is the best way to put it, but sooner or later, winter usually finds us.”

While it has gotten more seasonably cold in Floyd County in the past couple of days, the season definitely started out on the warm side.

For example, in Charles City there were 17 days in December when the high temperature was freezing (32 degrees F) or higher. On seven of those days the temperature topped 40 degrees — including Christmas Day when it was 42!

Not once in December did the temperature fall below zero degrees, and there were only two days when the low for the day was in the single digits.

Charles City also received only 1½ inches of snow.

Although it did receive almost 2.4 inches of total precipitation in December, much of that fell as rain Dec, 27 and 28. Had that much rain fallen as snow we might still be digging out.

The average high temperature for December in Charles City was 33.5 degrees. That’s more than 5½ degrees warmer than the historical average for the month, according to National Weather Service records.

The average low for the month was 20.8 degrees. That’s almost 8 degrees warmer than the historical average.

Total precipitation for the month was higher than normal, but total snowfall for the month was well below average — those two statistics courtesy of the warmer weather in the month.

The forecast for today (Wednesday) is for a high of a seasonably cool 23 degrees, but then temperatures are expected to be above freezing again for the rest of the week, possible reaching the 40s again Friday and Saturday and keeping daily highs above freezing through the middle of next week, according to the National Weather Service.

“I think when you have more active weather, it keeps us on our toes,” Batzek said, “but we still have things to do, and we also know it can change in a hurry. It’s just probably not going to be over the next seven days.”

And she pointed out that the Upper Midwest experienced the same type of start to winter last year.

“I probably don’t need to remind anyone what happened in March and April, either,” she said, referring to the fact that the area received almost three feet of snow in those two months in 2018.

“My guess is it’ll find us one of these days,” she said.

December 2018 daily high and low temperature for Charles City:

Sat., Dec., 1 — 34, 28
Sun., Dec., 2 — 34, 29
Mon., Dec., 3 — 29, 24
Tues., Dec., 4 — 24, 20
Wed., Dec., 5 — 32, 20
Thur., Dec., 6 — 24, 7
Fri., Dec., 7 — 24, 4
Sat., Dec., 8 — 25, 14
Sun., Dec., 9 — 29, 10
Mon., Dec., 10 — 25, 11
Tues., Dec., 11 — 31, 11
Wed., Dec., 12 — 31, 22
Thur., Dec., 13 — 35, 23
Fri., Dec., 14 — 37, 21
Sat., Dec., 15 — 42, 18
Sun., Dec., 16 — 41, 27
Mon., Dec., 17 — 40, 22
Tues., Dec., 18 — 47, 27
Wed., Dec., 19 — 46, 33
Thur., Dec., 20 — 35, 30
Fri., Dec., 21 — 30, 23
Sat., Dec., 22 — 33, 23
Sun., Dec., 23 — 31, 24
Mon., Dec., 24 — 29, 18
Tues., Dec., 25 — 42, 27
Wed., Dec., 26 — 39, 31
Thur., Dec., 27 — 46, 35
Fri., Dec., 28 — 41, 18
Sat., Dec., 29 — 18, 10
Sun., Dec., 30 — 32, 11
Mon., Dec., 31 — 31, 24
— Source: National Weather Service

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