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White Christmas or Winter Thaw: Will a Warm Fall Carry into December?

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The Winter Solstice may not be until December 21, but meteorologists start the season a bit early. Meteorological seasons are broken up into three month blocks, verses the astronomical calendar which follows the position of the earth relative to the sun. Tuesday marks the first day of meteorological winter, which consists of December, January, and February.

November, and meteorological fall as a whole, were very warm. Here are a few highlights:

Percent of Days Above Normal

In its 19th warmest November on record, Kansas City recorded no snowfall. That is only the 13th time that has occurred in their 128 year recorded history. In nearby Wichita, they saw the 12th warmest November with 22 days at or above 60 degrees, the most on record.

Multiple waves of heat in Florida caused Daytona Beach, Melbourne and Tampa, Florida to have their warmest fall seasons on record. Daytona Beach hit 90 degrees for the first time ever during their warmest November on record. Key West saw their third warmest November. Orlando hit 90 degrees six times (the most on record) during their second warmest November.

The Northeast was also unseasonably warm, leading to drier, less snowy conditions compared to 2014. Snow depth charts comparing last year to this year show the majority of snowfall during the month landed in the western U.S. instead. Rochester, New York saw its 4th warmest and 8th driest November. November of 2014 brought nearly seven feet of snowfall to Buffalo, while 2015 was its 7th warmest and 2nd least snowiest. Portland, Maine saw its 5th warmest November and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania saw its 2nd warmest.

snow depth 2014

snow depth 2015

Will mild temperatures continue into December and meteorological winter? The latest forecasts from the Climate Prediction Center say likely, yes. From the Great Lakes to New England, they forecast a 70 percent chance of above normal temperatures this month. The southwestern U.S. looks to be the only spot with chances of below average temperatures. The northern half of the country looks to stay mild through February. On the flip side, precipitation chances look to be greater in the south and lesser in the north.

3 month Precip

3 month Temp

December Precip

December Temp

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist, Karissa Klos
(Headline Image: Red River, NM)

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