Saturday, May 25, 2024

December dropped deep freeze and destructive tornadoes

The first couple of weeks of December were tranquil. Then things got interesting.

In mid-December, a deepening storm system in the Midwest slung out a punishing mix of damaging winds, hail and tornadoes in Texas on December 12th and 13th, and became even more terrifying as they tore through Louisiana and Mississippi. A tornado that developed near the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth knocked over some railway cars, did minor damage to homes in North Richland Hills, and continued northeast into Grapevine where it crossed Highway 114 near Baylor Scott & White hospital and caused major roof damage to the Sam’s Club, injuring five people. The storm did yet more damage at Grapevine Mills Mall, where five additional injuries were reported. It even triggered a brief Tornado Warning in southeast Flower Mound.

Temperatures were mostly mild in December, but then that massive Arctic blast showed up on the 22nd and 23rd, when low temperatures plunged to 10 degrees and barely made it above freezing just before Christmas. At least we got some snow flurries…

Put it all together and our actual temperatures were very near our average temps. Our average high this past December was 56.9 compared to our normal high of 57.3. The average low of 37.6 was three degrees warmer than December’s normal low. Again, that indicates the massive urban heat island of DFW is creeping northward.

Despite severe lack of rain in January (0.5”), July (0.0”), and September (0.16”), above-normal rains fell in April and May, plus five inches in late November and another 2.7” as of December 26. Denton County rainfall will come in between 4 and 9 inches above normal for the year.

The January forecast is calling for slightly warmer and drier-than-normal weather.

Brad Barton
Brad Barton
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/93.3 FM and 570 KLIF, which originate Emergency Alert System weather warnings for North Texas.

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