December Climate Outlook: What to expect as the holidays draw near

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Friday, December 2, 2022
December Climate Outlook: What to expect as the holidays draw near
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Houston has had its share of a little dust of snow during Christmas, but is it a chance we might get some in 2022? Check out the predictions with Chief Meteorologist Travis Herzog.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- December is here, and the first of our three winter months can bring some wild temperature swings. It also happens to be the wettest winter month, with an average rainfall total of just over four inches.

Average highs are in the upper 60s, and average lows are in the upper 40s to start the month. Those averages drop to the low 60s and mid-40s, respectively, by the end of the month.

In 2021, we registered our hottest December on record in Houston with an average temperature of 67.8, and second place wasn't even close.

RELATED: Houston weather: December 2021 was the warmest on record in 130 years

Contrast that with our two coldest Decembers on record in 1983 and 1989, when the average temperatures were in the mid-40s! These two months also hold the December records for the coldest low (7 in 1989) and coldest high (27 in 1983).

There have been some memorable Houston snowfalls in the past December, the most recent being in 2017, a few months after Hurricane Harvey. The most magical December snowfall of all occurred on Christmas Eve in 2004. While there was light dusting over Houston, up to a foot of snow fell in our coastal counties!

RELATED: NOAA weighs in on how La Niña will impact the upcoming winter

We can also get tornado outbreaks and floods in December. In fact, the December flood of 1935 sent several feet of water through downtown Houston, prompting the formation of the Harris County Flood Control District.

So what's in store for this December?

The weather pattern shaping up for the month will feature bitter-cold air over Canada and the Northern Plains. Pieces of the cold air will come down to Texas from time to time, but whenever the cold air retreats, it will leave us unseasonably warm and humid with widespread sea fog. It's possible that a significant chunk of the cold air could eventually dive into Texas, but absent that, the month should average up warmer than usual.

RELATED: ERCOT acknowledges possibility of rolling blackouts this winter in 'extreme risk scenarios'

There are no strong signals on the precipitation outlook for the month, so at this time, we have equal chances of above or below-normal precipitation.

Of course, if everything lines up just right, there's always that tiny chance for a rare December snowfall in southeast Texas.

Stay on the weather beat with ABC13 Chief Meterologist Travis Herzog on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.