by Robert K. Peters, Ph.D. - National Weather Service Cooperating Observer
The month of December 2003 saw near normal temperatures and below normal rainfall. Compared with the same month in 2002, December 2003 was 0.9 deg. warmer, and 3.37 inches drier. Total rainfall in 2003 was 43.55 inches, 1.72 inches less than normal, and 46.83 inches in 2002. The coldest temperature observed in 2003 was 21 on January 21, while the hottest was 102 observed on August 6. Conditions were moist through the end of August, with only about one-half normal rainfall between September 1 and December 31. The thirty-day outlook for December 2003 had called for above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.
The week November 30-December 6, 2003 saw temperatures 1 deg. cooler than normal and no rainfall. Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico was closed off for the week. There were a couple of fast-moving cold fronts and storm systems. These had no available moisture with which to work, and there was no rain. The fronts also held temperatures to cool readings. The fronts crossed on the 1st, 4th, and 5th. The week's average temperature was 50.7 deg., which was 0.8 deg. warmer than the previous week. Compared with the same week in 2002, the week was 6.2 deg. warmer, and 1.58 inches drier.
The week December 7-13 saw temperatures 2 deg. cooler than normal, and near-normal rainfall. Two storms crossed during the week--one on the 9th and a second on the 12th. Both brought general rains to the area. Conditions were windy between the morning of the 8th and the afternoon of the 10th, and again on the 12th. Cold fronts passed through on the 9th and 13th. The week's average temperature was 47.6 deg., and rainfall was 1.09 inches. This was 3.1 deg. cooler than the previous week. Compared with the same week in 2002, the week was 1.4 deg. warmer, and 0.56 inch drier.
The week December 14-20 saw temperatures 3 deg. colder than normal, and rainfall about one-fourth normal. Cold fronts crossed on the morning of the 16th and night of the 18th. A northwesterly flow aloft persisted with upper air high pressure to the region, which continued the transport of cool air into the area from the passing of the first front. There had been a brief warm-up ahead of the first front on the 14th and 15th. The week's only rain came with frontal passage on the evening of the 15th. The air mass was quite dry from the 16th. This resulted in daytime high readings slightly above normal, while nighttime low readings were below freezing from the 17th through the 20th. Conditions were windy on the 15th and 16th. The week's average temperature was 46.3 deg., which was 1.3 deg. cooler than the previous week. Rainfall was 0.22 inch. Compared with the same week in 2002, the week was 11.7 deg. colder, and 0.17 inch wetter.
The week December 21-27 saw temperatures 6 deg. warmer than normal, and rainfall about one-half normal. Cold fronts crossed on the 23rd, and on the night of the 27th. Ahead of each of these, warming occurred. The week's rain occurred with the front of the 23rd. The week's average temperature was 54.1 deg., which was 7.8 deg. warmer than the previous week. Rainfall was 0.51 inch. Compared with the same week in 2002, the week was 11.7 deg. warmer, and 1.18 inches drier.
The final four days of the month saw temperatures lowering through the morning of the 31st, with a pronounced warming trend beginning that afternoon. General rain fell in the area on the 28th with the passage of the cold front and an upper air storm.
The reporting period for temperatures and phenomenon on each day is for the twenty-four hours ending at midnight hours GMT--6 p.m. CST and 7 p.m. CDT. The reporting period for precipitation is for the twenty-four hours ending at noon GMT--6 a.m. CST and 7 a.m. CDT. All times are given using the twenty-four hour clock, and are expressed in Greenwich Mean Time.
Observations are from NWS Station 41/9207/4 in Tyler, Texas. The term "normal" refers to averages from the standard climatic period 1971-2000.
MX MN OBS PCPN REMARKS
DECEMBER 2003, RECORDS AND SUMMARY: