December in Denton County was much like the rest of 2015, unusually wet and warm.
On the day after Christmas, we reached 79 degrees just before a cold front and massive storm system unleashed a deadly swarm of 12 tornadoes that spared Denton County.
Days later, on the morning of December 29th, we touched an overnight low of 26.
Our day/night average of temperatures worked out to 51 degrees, which was a whopping 6 degrees warmer than normal.
December rainfall was unusually high at 5.29 inches which was nearly 3 inches above normal, but it fell on only two occasions. Rain was recorded at Denton Enterprise Airport on the 13th (.93”), then 4.36 inches fell over the weekend following Christmas. No winter weather other than snow flurries reached Denton County during December.
Looking back over the year, seven out of twelve months were at least one degree warmer than normal and five months had accumulated rainfall totals that were sharply above normal.
April: 5.98″, 2.80″ above normal.
May: 11.96″, 7.00″ above normal.
October: 8.23″, 3.49″ above normal.
November: 9.54″, 6.65″ above normal.
December: 5.29″, 2.87″ above normal.
Unofficially, Denton’s rainfall total for the year was a record 53.22 inches which was more than 15 inches above our annual average of 38 inches. The record annual rainfall total at DFW Airport was even more impressive; 62.61 inches which was nearly 27 inches above their annual average of 36 inches. What’s more, 2015 rainfall at DFW was nearly 3 times the amount of rain received in 2014 (21.32″).
Looking ahead, it appears our El Nino winter is just getting started. The Climate Prediction Center indicates near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.
As we enter one of our coldest months of the year, we can expect an above-normal chance of wintry precipitation, and not just snow, either. If the weather of El Nino holds true to form, it will bring in more storms consisting of warmer, subtropical Pacific moisture, which could produce freezing rain.
If you’ve never lived through a Texas ice storm, three things we take for granted are often taken away for extended periods of time; water, electricity and the ability to travel. Planning for a potential ice storm means having several gallons of supplemental water stored away for drinking and washing, plus supplemental heat from a fireplace or gas space heater. Just remember, any gas space heater or generator must be vented to the outside to avoid a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide.
We can hope for the best, but it’s best to be prepared for the worst.
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99,5 “The Wolf.”
— Pete Delkus (@wfaaweather) January 2, 2016