While Santa wasn’t likely driving his sleigh around in cutoffs and a Bermuda shirt, December definitely came up short in the winter weather department.
And, according to the National Weather Service, January is looking to continue the trend with above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation in the long-range forecast.
The last month of the year was much warmer than normal, with an average temperature of 39.7 degrees, a mark 6.2 degrees above normal. The warmest day, Dec. 20, was a relatively balmy 63 degrees, while the coldest night, Dec. 21, was 21 degrees.
Fourteen nights had freezing temperatures below 32 degrees, and Valley residents experienced five days when the high stayed at 32 degrees or below.
Except for trace amounts of snow, precipitation in December all came as rain, finishing at 1.98 inches total, a mark 0.49 inches below average. Total rain and snowfall for the year ended at 14.95 inches, which is 5.9 inches below normal.
Water year precipitation, which reflects precipitation since the start of the wet season in October, has been 5.36 inches, which is 1.66 inches below normal.
The highest wind gusts were 46 mph on Dec. 14 and Dec. 20, as measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport.
January will be the first full month of winter following the winter solstice on Dec. 21. Normal daytime highs are 40.9 degrees, while nighttime lows are 30.1 degrees. Normal precipitation is 2.53 inches, based on a 30-year average.