US was colder in December, but 2009 was warm
The lower 48 states were much colder than average in December, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But overall, the year 2009 ended slightly warmer than the long-term average.
The report from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center also notes a number of notable factoids, some of which WeatherBlog readers already know about:
* December 2009 was the wettest on record for Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia.
* It was also the snowiest December on record for a number of mid-Atlantic cities, including Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia. Oklahoma City, too, saw its snowiest December ever as arctic air invaded the South.
* The average snow cover for the contiguous U.S. reached 4.1 million square kilometers, the greatest expanse of snow on record for any December since satellite observations began in 1966. (That's the latest snow cover map, at left.)
The December State of the Climate Report says the lower 48 states averaged 30.2 degrees in December. That's very cold - 3.2 degrees below the average. It was also pretty wet. Average precipitation was 2.88 inches, about 0.65 inch above the 1901-2000 average.
But for the whole year, the lower 48 states were both wetter and warmer than average. Temperatures across the country averaged 53.1 degrees Fahrenheit, 0.3 degrees warmer than the long-term average. The average precipitation was 31.47 inches, or 2.33 inches above the long-term average.
Regions that ended the year warmer than average included parts of the South, Southwest and West. The cooler regions included the Central Plains and the Midwest.
You can read more of the NCDC report here.