We're now halfway through the month of December, and we've had just one day with measurable rain. On average we have 9 rainy days this month (9.2 to be exact) and the 30-year normal rainfall is 4.47". So far our one rain on the 6th has left us with a meager .35" in December as measured at the Columbus airport.
There are advantages to this, of course. We've had more sunshine and more mild temperatures than usual, allowing plenty of opportunity for folks to do their holiday shopping in relative comfort, not to mention the various parades, decorations, and other outdoor celebrations of the season. The downside is that it's starting to get a bit dry in portions of the Gulf states as seen in this recent drought map, though Columbus proper is still more than 3 inches above normal for the year.
You may recall that we had an unusually cold November, and that things turned around right after Thanksgiving. We've been in this quiet, mild pattern ever since, to the point that December so far is actually warmer than November was! We've had a whole week of canadian high pressure in full control that has given us mild, sunny days and clear, chilly nights while keeping storm systems away.
But my advice is, don't get too comfortable and think we won't have much of a winter this year. Another flip is coming - it's just a question of when. This will be a transition week, as the jet stream will be fast and furious, slamming California and the Northwest with another storm that eventually will head our way. The storm system coming in here tonight produced a couple of small tornadoes Sunday in Oklahoma and Kansas, but it will be so weak by the time it gets here, we're likely to see only light showers. That will be followed by a short break and then the next west coast storm digs in here just in time for next weekend. That one right now has the potential to be much wetter for us.
But the real fun looks to be showing up right around Christmas. Sometime next week, the nation's midsection will be dealing with a major winter-type storm that will bring a white Christmas to someone (not us, sorry) with a blast of cold air and possibly more storminess to come in the week between the holidays. When you mix an El Nino with an active Pacific jet stream and a supply of cold air, interesting things can happen. That's how the last week of the year is shaping up, and it's likely to make for an eventful beginning to the new year (and maybe a loss of sleep among forecasters).