December Weather Stats & Winter Outlook

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- We’ve finally made it to the month of December. For those who enjoy winter, this season may not feel winter-like as often this time around. We will have more discussion on that below.

While astronomical winter isn’t until December 21, meteorological winter started on December 1st. Why is there a difference?

In the weather world, meteorological seasons start at the beginning of the same months when astronomical seasons take place. The reason for the difference is simple. Winter’s start date can vary from December 21st through the 22nd depending on the year and time zone you live in.

Meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle. Another perk of starting at the beginning of the month is that it also helps create a much easier comparison with data for previous years. This would be very difficult if we had to base it off of the astronomical dates since they can vary.

La Nina Pattern Forecast:

Based on the global weather patterns, a transition to a La Nina influence is becoming highly likely.

A La Nina pattern for us in winter typically translates to an overall dry and warmer pattern but bouts of cold and winter weather can still occur. It is less likely but not a zero chance. Spurts of cold and or winter weather could occur in brief periods followed by longer periods of dry and warmer conditions.

While the first few days of December have certainly felt like winter with high temperatures only warming into the 40s and 50s with lows in the 20s and 30s the pattern ahead could lead back to warmer weather.

Below is the forecast from the Climate Prediction Center for the month of December. As you can see, the odds of warmer and drier than normal conditions are favored.

The winter season as a whole doesn’t look much different than December with warmer than normal temperatures forecast with precipitation possibly being near normal.

Additional Notes:

The normal seasonal snowfall average for Little Rock is 3.5 inches. While in most cases a La Nina pattern would result in a less likely chance of achieving this average, there are some seasons that go well against the grain of this trend.

Winter Season Snowfall (Little Rock):

1984-85 : 11.3″

1999-2000: 7.5″

2010-11: 14.6″

While this winter season is forecast to be influenced under a La Nina pattern, we will ultimately have to see how it all unfolds.

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