• December 2021 National Storm Summary

    From James Munley@21:1/5 to All on Mon Jan 17 09:14:24 2022
    DECEMBER 2021

    1-4: By the morning of December 3, only 6 percent of the continental U.S. was covered by snow—lowest on record for that date going back to 2003. Late in the week, however, some snow blanketed the nation’s northern tier, accompanied by gusty winds and
    cooler conditions. Elsewhere, significant wetness was confined to the Pacific Northwest and the northernmost Rockies. Some additional flooding was noted in western Washington, which remained very wet in the wake of mid-November flooding. With record-
    setting warmth dominating areas from the Pacific Coast to the Mississippi Valley.

    Bellingham, WA, netted a daily-record rainfall of 1.63 inches on November 28, helping to boost its monthly total to a November recordhigh 14.57 inches (previously, 11.60 inches in 1990). Elsewhere in western Washington, Quillayute (2.85 inches) collected
    a recordsetting amount for November 30. Quillayute’s monthly sum of 27.56 inches represented its second-highest November total, behind 29.14 inches in 1983. Meanwhile in Newark, NJ, the first measurable snow of the season (0.1 inch) occurred on
    November 28. In early December, high winds raked the northern High Plains. In Montana, the winds fanned several winter wildfires, including the powerline-sparked West Wind Fire, which burned 10,644 acres of vegetation in and near Denton between November
    30 and December 4. Peak wind gusts in Montana on December 1 included 77 mph in Cut Bank and 71 mph in Great Falls. At week’s end, relief came to Montana in the form of colder weather and occasional snow. Glasgow, MT, following a monthly record-tying
    high of 69°F on December 1, received a daily-record snowfall of 4.6 inches on December 4. Elsewhere across the North, December 4-5 snowfall totaled 2.5 inches in Havre, MT; 3.5 inches in Billings, MT; and 7.1 inches in Grand Forks, ND. In contrast,
    November featured no measurable precipitation in locations such as San Diego, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Cedar City, UT; Las Vegas, NV; Roswell, NM; and Amarillo and Midland, TX. San Diego last received no measurable rainfall during November in 1980. In Cedar City,
    this year marked only the second November on record—along with 2006—without measurable precipitation. In addition, Denver, CO, headed into December having not received measurable snow for the first time on record; previously, the latest first
    accumulating snowfall had been November 21, 1934.

    5-11: A tragic and deadly tornado outbreak struck the mid-South and lower Midwest on Friday evening, December 10. Catastrophic damage occurred along a primary path extending more than 200 miles from northeastern Arkansas into Kentucky, clipping the
    Bootheel of Missouri and northwestern Tennessee, with scientists still trying to determine whether the tornado track was continuous or broken. Deadly tornadoes also struck Illinois and Missouri. A broader area from the Mississippi Valley to the East
    Coast experienced showers and thunderstorms, with late-week rainfall totaling 2 to 4 inches in parts of the Southeast and lower Midwest. However, significant rain bypassed Florida’s peninsula and the middle Atlantic States. The storm responsible for
    the tornadoes also produced a stripe of heavy snow from Wyoming into the upper Great Lakes region, mainly on December 9-10.
    On December 5-6, a precursor to the major tornado outbreak occurred across the mid-South and lower Midwest. In the earlier outbreak, more than a dozen tornadoes were spotted across five states, mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee. Daily-record rainfall
    totals were set on December 6 in locations such as Cape Girardeau, MO (1.72 inches), and Columbus, OH (1.44 inches). Farther north, the week opened with snow falling in parts of the north-central U.S. Record-setting snowfall totals for December 5 reached
    7.8 inches in Rhinelander, WI, and 6.9 inches in Grand Forks, ND. In Montana, Billings received 6.3 inches of snow on December 5-6. Later, showers along the southern Atlantic Coast resulted in a daily-record sum (1.91 inches) for December 8 in Charleston,
    SC. At mid-week, unsettled weather arrived across the West. Daily-record amounts for December 9 totaled exactly 0.57 inch in Ely, NV, and Grand Junction, CO. Salt Lake City, UT, received its first measurable snow of the season (1.4 inches) on December 9,
    followed by 0.8 inch on the 10th. In Colorado, Denver’s first measurable snow (0.3 inch) occurred on December 10, breaking the record for latest first accumulation originally set when 1.0 inch fell on November 21, 1934. Snow returned across parts of
    the north-central U.S. on December 9- 10. Valentine, NE, noted daily-record snowfall both days, totaling 2.0 and 6.7 inches, respectively. Record-setting snowfall amounts in South Dakota for December 10 included 9.5 inches in Sioux Falls, 8.3 inches in
    Mitchell, and 6.5 inches in East Rapid City. From December 9-11, Marquette, MI, received precipitation totaling 1.53 inches, including 11.8 inches of snow. Farther south, tragedy unfolded on December 10 across the mid-South and lower Midwest, with
    preliminary reports indicating as many as five dozen tornadoes. The Kentucky communities of Mayfield (Graves County) and Dawson Springs (Hopkins and Caldwell Counties) were particularly devastated. Other hard-hit cities and towns included Monette, AR;
    Defiance, MO; Edwardsville, IL; and Bowling Green, KY. Kentucky Mesonet stations recorded wind gusts to 120 mph in Caldwell County and 107 mph in Graves County.
    12-18: Just 5 days after the deadly December 10 tornado outbreak across the mid-South and lower Midwest, extreme weather returned across the Plains and Midwest in the form of high winds and isolated tornadoes. Unrelated to thunderstorm activity, winds of
    75 to 100 mph or greater raked the central Plains, raising dust, disrupting travel, fanning several grassfires, and blasting an already stressed winter wheat crop. Elsewhere on the 15th, high winds (60 to 80 mph or higher) associated with severe
    thunderstorms—a derecho—swept hundreds of miles across the Midwest, from central and eastern Kansas into Wisconsin, resulting in localized to widespread damage. Isolated tornadoes, including the first five (based on preliminary reports) ever noted
    during December in Minnesota, accompanied the outbreak.

    Late-week rain drenched parts of the mid-South and lower Midwest. Farther west, precipitation began to chip away at long-term drought, especially in northern and central California, but extending inland across the interior Northwest and the Great Basin.

    . During the first half of the week, a significant wave of precipitation reached the Pacific Coast States before surging inland. In California, recordsetting rainfall totals for December 13 included 3.39 inches in Oakland (Airport), 2.51 inches in
    Sacramento, 1.38 inches in Modesto, and 0.91 inch in Paso Robles. On December 13-14, Santa Barbara, CA, netted consecutive daily-record totals (0.90 and 1.44 inches, respectively). In southern California on the 14th, daily-record amounts topped an inch
    in downtown Los Angeles (2.16 inches), Burbank (1.81 inches), Santa Barbara (1.44 inches), and Bishop (1.35 inches). For Bishop, it was the wettest day since January 17, 2019, when 1.49 inches fell. Farther inland, 24-hour snowfall totals in Utah on
    December 14-15 reached 12.3 inches in Tooele and 11.0 inches in downtown Salt Lake City. In Nevada, December 14-16 snowfall included 13.2 inches in Winnemucca and 8.9 inches in Ely. On December 15, heavy precipitation fell in the upper Great Lakes region,
    while high winds swept across the central and southern Plains and the upper Midwest. In Minnesota on the 15th, dailyrecord totals in Hibbing (1.44 inches) and Brainerd (0.97 inch) were followed by a changeover to snow the following day. Farther south,
    December 15 wind gusts were clocked to 107 mph in Lamar, CO, and 100 mph in Russell, KS, along with 93 mph in Lincoln, NE, and 92 mph in Colorado Springs, CO. Gusts were clocked to 89 mph in Pueblo, CO, and Garden City, KS. Elsewhere in Kansas, Dodge
    City’s peak gust to 84 mph set a station record, originally achieved with a thunderstorm wind gust to 79 mph on June 23, 2018. Goodland, KS (81 mph), recorded its fourth-highest gust, behind 96 mph on May 24, 1994; 92 mph on August 9, 1994, and 82 mph
    on April 10, 1991. In Iowa, gusts reached or exceeded 80 mph in Marshalltown, Mason City, and Ottumwa. The day’s largest grassfire—the North 207 Fire—scorched 23,810 acres near Skellytown, TX, although significant wildfires also burned on December
    15 in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. Late in the week, locally heavy rain fell in the mid-South and environs, while snow blanketed parts of the North. In Arkansas, record-setting rainfall totals for December 17 reached 2.21 inches in Harrison and 1.22
    inches in Batesville. On the same date in South Dakota, daily-record snowfall amounts included 9.7 inches in Sisseton and 4.0 inches in Aberdeen. At week’s end, precipitation returned across the Pacific Northwest, where Quillayute, , WA, collected a
    record-setting sum (2.58 inches) for December 18.

    19-25: Stormy Western weather delivered widespread drought relief in the form of valley rain and high-elevation snow, a promising development during a La Nina winter when drier-than-normal conditions typically plague the Southwest. The average water
    equivalency of the highelevation Sierra Nevada snowpack climbed to nearly 14 inches by December 27, more than 150 percent of normal for the date and roughly one-half of the average accumulation for a full season.

    As the week began, rain fell in Deep South Texas, where record-setting amounts for December 19 included 1.50 inches in Harlingen, 0.86 inch in Brownsville, and 0.85 inch in McAllen. Early-week precipitation also overspread the Northwest, resulting in
    daily-record totals for December 19 in Hermiston, OR (1.05 inches), and Pasco, WA (0.69 inch). Meanwhile, heavy showers dotted Florida’s east coast during the first half of the week. Florida’s daily-record totals included 1.60 inches (on December 20)
    in Melbourne and 2.67 inches (on December 21) in Daytona Beach. During the second half of the week, stormy weather arrived in the West. Southern California received its most significant precipitation of the season on December 23, when daily-record
    amounts reached 3.10 inches in Santa Barbara, 1.48 inches in Los Angeles (LAX Airport), and 1.32 inches in Long Beach. For Santa Barbara, it was the wettest December day on record, surpassing 2.80 inches on December 18, 2010—and the wettest day at any
    time of year since February 17, 2017, when 4.16 inches fell. Mid- to late-week precipitation also spread inland across the West. On December 23-24, Ely, NV, received precipitation totaling 0.88 inch and 6.6 inches of snow. During a 24-hour period on
    December 23-24, Scipio, UT, measured precipitation totaling 1.58 inches and 9.0 inches of snow. In Arizona, daily-record amounts for December 24 included 1.67 inches (5.9 inches of snow) in Flagstaff and 1.00 inch in Phoenix. For Flagstaff, it was the
    wettest December day since 2009, when 1.75 inches fell on December 7. Similarly, it was the wettest December day in Phoenix since December 8, 1992, when 1.06 inches fell. At week’s end, locally heavy showers developed across the middle Ohio Valley and
    environs. It was the wettest Christmas Day on record in locations such as Morgantown, WV (1.34 inches), and Columbus, OH (0.82 inch).

    26-31: A wild week, highlighted by severe weather and flash flooding across the interior Southeast; downpours in southern California; horrific wildfires in Colorado; record-setting warmth in the South; and bitterly cold conditions across the northern
    Plains and Northwest, capped an active year of U.S. weather. Although the Southeast escaped another major severe-weather outbreak, there were numerous reports of wind damage and isolated tornadoes spread across multiple days.

    Early in the week, significant precipitation continued in the West. Elko, NV, netted a daily-record snowfall (4.5 inches) for December 26, while Utah’s Bryce Canyon Airport received 5.2 inches in a 24-hour period on December 26-27. By the 27th, heavy
    snow overspread the north-central U.S., where Grand Forks, ND, received a daily-record sum of 5.9 inches. Rare snow also lingered in the Pacific Northwest, where Portland, OR, measured consecutive daily-record totals (0.7 and 1.0 inch, respectively) on
    Dec. 26-27. By the 28th, a few heavy showers erupted across the nation’s mid-section; totals of 1.53 inches in Columbia, MO, and 1.34 inches in Chanute, KS, were records for the date. Tupelo, MS (2.08 inches), reported a daily-record amount for Dec. 29.
    Meanwhile, wildfires broke out near Boulder, CO, while heavy rain soaked southern California. The Marshall Fire, sparked on December 30 in Louisville, CO, and driven by high winds, torched more than 6,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes. Sharply
    colder weather and snow complicated wildfire recovery efforts. Farther west, Oxnard, CA, measured daily-record amounts (2.72 and 2.10 inches, respectively) on December 29 and 30. Other daily-record totals on the 30th included 3.12 inches in Los Angeles (
    LAX Airport) and 2.03 inches in Sandberg. Woodland Hills reported 4.19 inches in 24 hours on December 29-30. Farther inland, heavy snow again fell across the Intermountain West. Lewiston, ID, measured a dailyrecord snowfall (7.2 inches) for December 30,
    while Manti, UT, tallied 6.0 inches in 24 hours on December 30-31. Elsewhere, a new thunderstorm outbreak delivered the wettest New Year’s Day on record in dozens of locations, including Jackson, KY (3.38 inches); Russellville, AR (2.77 inches); Poplar
    Bluff, MO (2.49 inches); Evansville, IN (2.22 inches): and Charleston, WV (2.09 inches).

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