City Summary Archive
In Fairbanks the average temperature was 4.0°F, a very substantial positive deviation (+8.1°F) from the December's long term mean. As November had been much too cold, the unexpected warmth was a welcomed event. Actually, the mean monthly temperature for December was warmer than the mean temperature for November. Furthermore, the minimum temperature for December of -36°F, measured on the last 2 days of the month, was 5°F warmer than the November minimum of -41°F on the 17th. December 2012 tied 1963 as the 10th warmest on record. Generally speaking, the first 3 weeks of the month were much warmer than would be expected, while the last week was below normal. The maximum temperature of the month occurred on the 4th with a balmy temperature, for Interior Alaska in winter, of +47°F. A mean temperature for the day was 37°F, a rare event, as mean daily temperatures above freezing are infrequent in winter. No new record absolute high or low temperatures were observed. Precipitation in December was 0.95" water-equivalent, 48% above the expected value of 0.64" and snowfall at 12.2" was only very slightly above normal. Wind speed averaged a slight 2.8 mph, a low value typical for winter in Interior Alaska. The highest gust was 51 mph on the 5th. Cloud cover was high with a mean monthly value of 80%. This is not surprising as cloudy days are in winter on average warmer than clear ones due to weak winter solar radiation. Hence, the substantially above normal temperatures would be an indication of higher than expected cloud cover.
Anchorage recorded an average temperature of 23.0°F, an ample positive deviation of 4.4°F above the long term mean for December. The maximum temperature of the month occurred on the 4th and 18th with 45°F, while a minimum temperature of -2°F was observed on the 31st of the month. As November was seasonally substantially too cold, the mean monthly temperature was colder in November than in December. Further, December's maximum and minimum temperatures for December were higher than November. No absolute high or low temperatures were observed. Precipitation was reported at 2.66", more than double the normal value of 1.12". Further, 31.1" fell as snow during the month, 87% above the expected amount. The mean monthly cloudiness was relatively high with 90% and during the whole month only 1 clear day was observed, 3 were partly cloudy and 27 reported overcast conditions. An average monthly wind speed of 7.6 mph was logged and a top gust of 59 mph occurred on the 4th.
Barrow reported an average temperature in December of -9.6°F, below the normal of -7.8°F. A maximum temperature of 6°F occurred on the 11th, and a minimum temperature of -30°F was observed on the 31st. Most of the month showed values close to the expected values and no new temperature extremes were observed during December. Precipitation in Barrow, which is low in Northern Alaska, totaled 0.60", more than 4 times the expected value of 0.14". A strong storm occurred on the 4th December, with average wind speeds above 30 mph, and gust exceeding 50 mph. It brought 0.33" of precipitation, beating the previous record for this day of 0.19 set in 1922. This was associated with a new snowfall record of 6.5", surpassing the old record of 2.5" set also on this day in 1922. Both these values are in fact new records for all days in December. The previously highest precipitation amount for any day in December had occurred on 13th December 1930 with 0.26", and the highest amount of snowfall (5.0") had been observed on 29th December 1922. The mean monthly wind speed was 12.8 mph and the highest gust of 52 mph occurred on the 4th.
For December Big Delta experienced markedly warmer than normal temperatures for the first two thirds of the month. Two new daily maximum temperature records were set. First on the 3rd with 46°F, +4°F above the old record set back in 1963. The next day saw the temperatures soar to 51°F, an amazing +11°F above the 1969 record of 40°F. This was also the warmest temperature of the month. The final third of the month recorded lower than normal temperatures, however, the overall monthly mean temperature was still a significant +6.1°F above normal. December ended up being 13.1°F warmer than November, which had been seasonably very cold. The lowest temperature of the month was experienced on the 29th at -29°F. Precipitation was heavier than normal with a total water equivalent of 0.74", nearly twice the normal of 0.38". No record precipitation events were recorded.
In Juneau, the average December temperature was 33.7°F, 3.8°F above the long-term mean of 29.9°F. The maximum temperatures for the month (44°F) occurred on the 5th and 22nd and the minimum temperature (18°F) was recorded on the 30th December. As for other stations in Alaska, December temperatures were warmer than the temperatures measured in November, and the monthly maximum and minimum were higher. No absolute high or low temperatures were observed. Precipitation totaled 7.45", 1.61" above the long-term mean of 5.84" for the month. 14.5" of snow were measured, slightly below the long-term mean of 15.6. The above normal amount of precipitation, together with a somewhat below amount of snow might appear at the first glance surprising, however due to the warmer temperatures, a larger amount fell as rain. An average monthly wind speed of 11.0 mph was observed and a top gust of 53 mph occurred on the 1st. There was no clear day during December.
Ketchikan's average temperature of 36.6°F in December was nearly identical with the November temperature of 36.4°F. However, in contrast to the previous month, when below seasonal temperatures were reported, the mean December temperature was by 1.3°F above the long-term average. The highest temperature of the month measured 49°F on the 19th, while the low temperature of 24°F occurred on the 7th of the month. The temperatures followed more closely the long-term mean than other stations in Alaska for this month and no new temperature extremes were observed. Monthly precipitation was measured at 14.66", just slightly above the expected amount of 14.23". The highest daily amount occurred on the 19th with 1.66".
King Salmon reported an average temperature of 17.6°F, below (deviation -1.0°F) the long-term mean of 18.6°F. The highest temperature in December was 51°F, recorded on the 3rd of December. This represents a new absolute high for this day. The previous record was 48°F set in 2002. On the following day a maximum temperature of 46°F was observed, surpassing the old record of 45°F by 1°F set in 2008. The low temperature of the month of -31°F occurred on the last day of December. However, the previous day recorded a low of -29°F, which represents a new record minimum for this day, as the previous record was -25°F set in 1997. In general, the first 2/3 of the month was seasonally somewhat too warm. Thereafter, the temperatures dropped steadily, and by the end of the month far below normal temperatures were observed. The precipitation total was measured at 1.64", above the long term mean of 1.23". Especially remarkable was the record snowfall event on the 11th December with 10", setting a new record for this day. The old record, set in 1963, was only 3", hence it was really an extraordinary event, shattering the old record by more than a factor of 3. Average wind speed was 8.8 mph and the highest gust was recorded at 61 mph on the 10th, blowing from a southeasterly direction.
Kodiak reported for December an average temperature of 28.4°F. The mean monthly temperature was 2.8°F below the long-term mean of 31.2°F. The maximum temperature of 47°F for the month occurred on the 2nd this represents a new absolute high for this specific day. The old record was 46°F from 1992. The daily record high temperature was matched on the 18th at 44.0°F. This ties 1985, 1969 and 1937. The lowest temperature happened on the last day of the month with ‑3°F. This day and on two previous days new record low temperatures were tied or broken. On the 27th December the low temperature went down to 4°F, which tied the old value set in 1970. On the 30th the temperature dropped to 3°F, establishing a new record for the day. The previous record was 5°F, set in both, 2006 and 1997. The last day of the month was the coldest (-3°F), shattering the old record low from 1974 by 5°F. Precipitation was reported as 5.92", 68% of the long-term value and 8.8" of snow were measured for the month, again about 2/3 of normal. The mean wind speed was 9.2 mph and on the 18th of the month a gust blowing from the south of 60 mph was recorded, the highest value for the month.
Nome reported a mean monthly temperature in December of 6.5°F, a negative deviation of 3.0°F from the long term mean. The warmest monthly temperature was 33°F, observed on the 7th and 8th, while the coldest temperature occurred on the 29th and 31st with values of -32°F. The daily temperatures were seasonally colder than normal, especially in the last 10 days of the month. Precipitation was above the expected range, totaling 2.15" the mean value for December is 1.08". Hence, twice the expected precipitation was recorded. Snowfall was 27.7", closing in on twice the norm of 14.5". On the 3rd, 6.5" of snow fell, surpassing the old record of 6.2" for this day, which had been established in 1979. On the 6th another snowfall record was broken. 4.1" of snow fell, breaking the old record of 3.9" set in 1993. The following day, another 5.6" of snow was measured, establishing a new record for this day by surpassing the old record of 4.4" from back in 1981. The average wind speed for the month was 10.8 mph, and the highest gust was observed with 53 mph on the 10th of December.