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December 2016 - Report and Summary

The year 2016 was dry and warm. In fact, 2016 became Tyler's third warmest year on record, with the year's temperature running 3.3 deg. Warmer than normal. 2016 was 1.7 deg. Warmer than 2015. Rainfall was about 85 percent of normal, and was 22.27 inches drier than 2015. Tyler's warmest year was 1921 with a mean temperature of 69.6 deg., and 1998 was second warmest with a 69.0 deg mean. Year-round record keeping began in Tyler at the Cotton Belt Passenger Station on January 1, 1896.

The period January through April was wet, with the remainder of the year dry. The mid-Winter through mid-Spring rainfall continued a pattern which had set up in early-Autumn 2015 and resulted in that year's being Tyler's wettest on record with 71.87 inches of rainfall. A potent ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) combined with favorable orientation of the PNA (Pacific-North American Tele-Connection) to produce the heavy rains.

The period between mid-July and mid-August saw fourteen days with temperatures at or above 100. Most months during the year experienced above normal temperatures. The year's accumulation of cooling degree days was 22 percent greater than normal, while the accumulation of heating degree-days was 31 percent below normal. The year's highest temperature was 103 on August 12, and the coldest was 19 on December 19th. The latter was the coldest temperature since March 17, 2014 when the mercury fell to 17. March 9 became the wettest March day on record with 4.61 inches, replacing March 29, 1922 when 4.41 inches fell.

The 2016 warm season began on May 10, and ended on October 6 at 149 days four days longer than normal. The temperature reached or exceeded 90 degrees on 96 days, and reached or exceeded 100 degrees on 14 days. The latter value is six days more than normal, while the former was nine days less than normal.

The 2016 growing season began on March 21, and ended November 20 244 days with 245 days as normal.

The Winter of 2015-2016 saw 17 days with temperatures below 32 degrees. This is about 10 days fewer than normal. During 2016, the temperature reached or fell below freezing on 21 days. December 2016 was also warmer and drier than normal. The thirty-day outlook for December 2016 had called for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. It was virtually reversed with the November 30 revision to below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. Compared with December 2015, the month was 2.4 deg. Cooler, and 3.92 inches drier. December began seasonably cool and dry. A complex and multi-part upper air low crossed between the 3rd and 8th, with rainfall on each day. The heaviest occurred with the first component of the system on the 3rd and 4th. Between two and seven inches of rain fell. Temperatures continued running near normal during this period with above normal low and below normal high temperatures under a persistent overcast.

An Arctic air mass arrived on the morning of the 8th, introducing dry and colder air. Temperatures warmed on the 11th and 12th. Cold fronts on the 12th and 14th lowered temperatures. Only light rainfall was associated with these systems, and skies remained cloudy because of the shallow nature of the cold air masses, overrunning moisture, and southwesterly winds aloft. Dramatic warming occurred from the morning of the 16th through the afternoon of the 17th, with a record daily maximum on the 17th. Light rain accompanied the initial push of the warmer air mass on the afternoon of the 16th.

Then, a strong Arctic cold front arrived late in the afternoon of the 17th, with the temperature falling 20 degrees in the 20 minutes from 5:45 p.m. through 6:05 p.m. on that day. Temperatures continued below normal through the morning of the 21st. A brief warming was followed by two cold fronts considerably weaker than that of the 17th. This lowered temperatures slightly but still above normal. Tropical Maritime air returned to the area on the 23rd, bringing warming through the 26th. Temperatures were 20-25 degrees above normal between the 24th and 26th.

A broad upper air low over the Western states caused showers on the 23rd and 24th with rainfall amounts of between one-half inch and four inches. Showers occurred on the 25th; showers and a few thunderstorms occurred on the evening of the 26th ahead of a weak cold front which crossed on the evening of the latter day. Rainfall amounts of up to six and one-half inches occurred then. A weak cold front on the night of the 26th began a slow lowering of temperatures. A stronger front arrived on the 29th, taking temperatures down closer to normal. Warming returned on the 31st.

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.




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