NOTE – Rainfall and temperature information is based on data kept at
Milford Lake by the Corps of Engineers. For more information contact
Chuck Otte, 238-4161.
December 2017 Weather Summary (2017 Annual Weather Summary follows below)
If you ask the average person on the street what the weather was like in
December, they´ll remember the last 10 days and tell you that it was
bitterly cold. When in reality, the December mean temperature was slightly
above normal. Unfortunately, a couple of small snowfall events brought
very little actual moisture and the dry conditions became more deeply
The average daily high for December was 41.7 which is seven tenths of a
degree above normal. The average overnight low was 21.6, four tenths of a degree above normal. This gave us a monthly mean temperature of 31.6 which is one half degree above the long term average. The highest temperature for the month was 69 on the 3rd. The lowest temperature was -8 on both the 30th and 31st as we rolled out the old year. The low of -8 on the 31st tied the record low for that date. The record was first set in 1968 and then reached again in 1976. The high of 8 on the 31st set a new record low high for that date. The old record low high was 11 set in 1978. The low of 61 on the 3rd broke the record high low temperature for that date. The old record was 54 set in 1998. Likewise, the low of 44 on the 20th broke the record high low for that date. The old record was 41 set in 1953. The coldest December on record was in 1983 with a numbing monthly mean temperature of 13.6. That year we had pre-Christmas lows in the minus teens and daytime highs only managing to get to -2 or -3 during that cold snap. The warmest December on record was in 1957 with a monthly mean temperature of 40.2 degrees, a record we might have met or broken had the late month cold spell not arrived. On the last day of autumn we had a month to date mean temperature of 41.9. The bitter cold of the last ten days of the year dropped that mean temperature by 10 degrees!
December is our second driest month of the year with a long term average rainfall of 1.02 inches of liquid precipitation, and 3.7 inches of snow. We received 1.4 inches of very dry snow during December and only 0.13 inches of precipitation at Milford Lake and 0.11 inches in Junction City. Since mid-October we have received less than a quarter inch of rainfall which is very concerning. The wettest December on record was 2007 when an ice storm deposited 3.77 inches of precipitation on the area. The driest year on record was 1976 when no measurable precipitation was recorded. December 2017 tied for the 7th driest December in records dating back to 1931.
January is our coldest month of the year, our driest month of the year, but is tied with February for being our snowiest month of the year. Average daily highs in January start the months at 37 and rise only slightly by the end of the month reaching 40 by the 31st. Average overnight lows during January don´t really change much running 17 to 18 degrees through the entire month. Long term average liquid precipitation for January is only 0.65 inches and long term average snowfall is 4.7 inches.
2017 Year End Weather Summary
In site of the bitter cold the last ten days of the year, 2017 was a hot year. The average daily high during the year was 67.2, 1.6 degrees above normal. The average overnight low was 48.2, 5.2 degrees above normal. This gave us an annual mean temperature of 57.7, 3.4 degrees above normal. This is the third consecutive year with an annual mean temperature above the long term average. 2017 was the seventh hottest year on record and only two degrees cooler than the record hot year of 1954. The hottest year on record (reliable Junction City records date back to 1948) was 1954 with an annual mean temperature of 59.7. The coldest year was in 1979 with an annual mean temperature of 50.5 degrees. The temperature extremes for the year ranged from a high of 102 on July 21st and 22nd down to a -8 on
December 30th and 31st. This 110 degree temperature range matches the 70 year average of 110 degrees.
Average annual precipitation is 33.15 inches. Milford Lake received 34.31 inches of rain and Junction City received 30.68 inches. While it would appear that we were near or slightly above average rainfall it should be noted that there were significant periods without rain which impacted crop production in 2017. More concerning has been the roughly 2½ months at the end of the year when very little rainfall was received. This raises serious concerns for at least the wheat crop already in the ground and the
start of the coming crop and pasture season. The wettest year on record (reliable Junction City area rainfall records dating back to 1931) was 1951 when 56.3 inches of rain flooded the area. The driest year on record was 1966 when 15.61 inches of rain was all that could be found in the rain gauges. Long term average snowfall (October through May) is 18 inches. Due to warm and dry conditions, the 2016-2017 snowfall season only saw 3 inches of snow and the 2017-18 season hasn´t started off with a bang. The
one bright spot in this was the one inch of snow that arrived on December 23rd that was kept around by cold conditions so that we could have a hint of a White Christmas.
Chuck Otte firstname.lastname@example.org
County Extension Agent, Ag & Natural Resources