Will December ever start to feel like winter for an extended period of time?

This month has started out with significantly warmer than normal weather. So far we have experienced four 80-degree days, and the average temperature has run about 10 degrees above normal. Cooler weather has been the exception in December, rather than the norm. And this pattern seems likely to continue through at least the first two-thirds of the month. So is there any chance of a colder turn toward Christmas, the remainder of the holidays, and New Years?

NOAA’s outlook for temperatures through Dec. 22 show something of a blow-torch effect for much of the United States, including the Houston region. (Pivotal Weather)

The pattern for the middle third of the month is pretty set. We’re going to warm back into the 80s to end this work week, a strong-ish front will cool things down for the weekend, and then we’ll be back into at least the upper 70s for most of next week. So eight or even nine of the next 10 days will see warmer than normal weather. So what of the last 10 days of the month?

This extended period lies beyond the ability of our existing models for precision forecasting. However, it does look as though some sort of front may arrive around Dec. 20. After that the “weekly” models from all of our sources suggest somewhat more normal weather to end the month. That is, instead of days in the 70s and 80s, and nights in the 50s and 60s, we can more probably expect days in the 60s and nights in the 40s or 50s. At this point—and it really is way too early to say this with any confidence, but here goes anyways—I’m seeing little signal for a freeze before the end of the year. But we shall see.

The bottom line: The first two-thirds of December are going to be quite a bit warmer than normal, but the last part of the month should feel more seasonal. Probably. We think. I mean, it has to feel like Christmas sometime, right?

Thursday

There is some patchy fog west of Houston this morning, but this should burn off within a few hours. After it does, skies will remain partly to mostly cloudy, as temperatures rise into the low 80s. Some very light showers or drizzle will be possible throughout the day, but chances are less than 20 percent. Temperatures across much of the region are unlikely to fall below 70 degrees, a very sticky night for December.

Friday

This will be another warm and mostly cloudy day, with high temperatures in the low to possibly mid-80s. This will also be another day during which light showers are possible throughout the day, but accumulations should not be anything to write home about. Expect another warm night ahead of the frontal passage.

Saturday

At some point a ragged line of showers and thunderstorms will progress through the region ahead of the front. This line probably arrives in areas northwest of Houston an hour or two after midnight, reaches the city a few hours later, and arrives at the coast just before sunrise. Accumulations should measure a few tenths of an inch of rain for most. A significantly drier air mass will move in an hour or two behind the rain, and with dewpoints falling into the 30s, the air will indeed feel much drier. Highs should drop into the 50s during the afternoon hours with wind gusts reaching 30 mph. Winds start to die down a bit during the evening, with lows dropping into the 40s for most of Houston.

Low temperature forecast for Sunday morning. (Weather Bell)

Sunday

A truly winter-like day with mostly sunny skies, highs in the low- to mid-60s, and another chilly night in the 40s and 50s.

Next week

As mentioned above, we’ll see a warming trend next week, with high temperatures recovering into at least the mid- to upper 70s by Tuesday, and onward.

9 thoughts on “Will December ever start to feel like winter for an extended period of time?”

  1. Is that the Goldilocks forecast? This forecast is to cold. This forecast is to hot. This forecast is just right.

  2. After last February’s freeze, I’m not so sure I want it to get too cold. I have no confidence in the PUC and the integrity of Texas’ power grid. I’m good with what we’ve got!

  3. Tell all the power generation folks to get their maintenance done now, before the freezes hit in early next year.

  4. I can be okay with it being not-so-cool for December as long as it is dry. This warm and muggy pattern is for the birds.

    And, like others, I’m not confident that the PUC and power generators have got their act together. If the law allowed us to throw rotten tomatoes at them in the public square if they failed (again), I might be more confident in them getting the job done.

    So, for now, I’ll take tepid temperatures and run my AC.

  5. Ugh! Guess I’ll wait for Saturday to put the tree up. Haven’t been in the mood with this gross weather.

  6. Who made that chart? The ground has been covered in snow for the past two weeks. 80 degree temperatures, where?

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