A warm December capped off one of the warmest – and wettest – years on record in Minnesota.
It probably comes as no surprise after the mild weather we've had so far this winter, but the month of December was the warmest December in history for Minnesota, meteorologist Mark Seeley wrote on his WeatherTalk blog.
Temperatures statewide were 8-12 degrees above normal, Seeley notes.
Several regions experienced some of the warmest Decembers in history. The month ranked second-warmest on record for the Twin Cities and Rochester, while Duluth experienced the seventh-warmest, the National Weather Service's website shows.
Duluth experienced no days that were below-zero – that hasn't happened since 1959, the weather service says. Typically, Duluth sees 10 days with below-zero temperatures in the month of December. (The city could break the record for latest first below-zero day, which was Jan. 11.)
2015: 6th-warmest on record
December marked the fourth consecutive month Minnesota experienced warmer than normal temperatures, Seeley notes, which helped make 2015 the sixth-warmest year in history for the state.
The annual mean temperature was 44 degrees, which is 1.5-2.5 degrees above average.
In the Twin Cities, it was the eighth-warmest year on record.
It was wet, too
It was a wet December, too.
December 2015 was the second-wettest in history, Seeley says. All the rain and snow made set records regionally as well – it was the second-wettest December on record for Rochester, the third-wettest for Duluth and the ninth wettest for the Twin Cities, the National Weather Service's monthly weather summary shows.
Overall, 2015 was wetter than normal statewide, Seeley says, coming in at No. 21 on the wettest years since 1895. Seeley says Austin and Waseca had "exceptionally wet" years, picking up roughly 45 inches of precipitation, while many climate stations reported over 40 inches of precipitation in 2015.
What will January bring?
With a strong El Niño predicted this year, Minnesota is expected to experience above-average temperatures and below normal precipitation for the month of January – and even into the spring, according to the National Weather Service.
An overall warmer winter is expected, but we won't escape January without a blast of arctic air. Long-term forecasts are showing temperatures will drop next week:
Meteorologist Paul Douglas wrote on the Star Tribune's weather blog that the coldest weather of the year is typically a week or two from now. He notes that next week could be the coldest of 2016.