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Recap of December 2017 Weather for the 30-county NWS Hastings Coverage Area: 

December 2017 Precipitation

- Precipitation: Although not as dry as November (compared to monthly normals), December was the second-consecutive month of below normal precipitation across nearly the entire 30-county area, with most places averaging between 20-65% of normal. The overall-driest portion of the area was north central Kansas, where many stations didn't even see 0.10" for the month. In contrast, the overall "wettest" counties focused near/north of Highway 6 in Nebraska, but even here, most places received no more than 0.25-0.45". Here are a few of the highest December precipitation totals per NWS/CoCoRaHS observers: 0.56" one mile east of Lexington, 0.53" at Dannebrog, 0.49" at St. Paul and 0.46" at Loup City and Belgrade. On the very dry side of things were the following NWS observers: 0.06" at Ionia KS, 0.07" at Phillipsburg KS, 0.08" at Beloit KS and 0.09" at Cawker City KS. On the Nebraska side, one of the lowest totals was 0.11" six miles north-northwest of Oxford. 

- Snowfall: For those longing for a "White Christmas", the majority of our coverage area got their wish, thanks to the first widespread, mainly 2-5" snow of the season from the 23rd into the 24th. This was a dry, fluffy snow that fell with relatively little wind, minimizing travel impacts. The overall-highest amounts fell between the Highway 6 and Highway 92 corridors in Nebraska, including as much as  6" near Cozad and 5.8" at Grand Island airport. Less than 48 hours later, a lighter snow event brought an additional 0.5"-2" to many areas from late on Christmas Day into the morning  of the 26th. Thanks to very cold temperatures, at least a few inches of snow depth lingered over most local Nebraska counties for the next few weeks, into early January. 

Temperatures: Like November, December was truly a "tale of two months", but this time even more so! Officially, the month as a whole averaged slightly above normal (generally 1-2º) at most NWS cooperative stations. However, a few official NWS airport sites such as Grand Island/Hastings actually averaged barely below normal. No matter though, these fairly un-impressive overall monthly averages dramatically fail to tell the story of a month that was notably mild through the first 3 weeks, and then VERY COLD to finish. Getting into more details, the first 3 weeks averaged a notable 7-9º above normal area-wide, with highs on most days well into the 40s, 50s, and even a few 60s. At both Grand Island and Hastings, these first 3 weeks averaged the 11th-warmest on record. Things started trending colder between the 22nd-24th, and then from the 25th-31st the bottom dropped out as a notable "Arctic blast" enveloped the region, resulting in: 1) The coldest final week of December on record at several long-term official stations (including Grand Island/Hastings)...2) The outright-coldest week across parts of the area SINCE 1996 (also including Grand Island/Hastings)! On most days during the final week, especially Nebraska portions of the area had several days with highs in the single digits above zero, and several nights with sub-zero lows (as low as -15 to -20 at some stations). The outright-coldest day was the 31st, when both Grand Island and Hastings failed to climb above 0º, marking the first time that occurred since 1996!  As for monthly extremes per official NWS observers/stations, some of the warmest readings included 70º at Kirwin Dam KS, 69º near Plainville KS, 68º near Alton KS and 67º at various sites including Edison, Smith Center KS and Beloit KS. In very sharp contrast, some of the bone-chilling coldest readings (all on the 26th or 27th) featured -20º near York, -19 at Kearney airport (automated AWOS), -18º at Ravenna and Red Cloud, and -17º at various sites including Grand Island airport, Aurora airport and Greeley. 

Severe Thunderstorms/High Wind Events: There were no thunderstorms during the month, let alone severe storms. As for non-thunderstorm high wind events with widespread gusts of 50+ MPH, there were primarily two days: 1) Dec. 4: This was the overall-windiest day of the month, with peak northwesterly gusts of 50-60+ MPH common area-wide, including as high as 64 MPH at Ord airport and 60 MPH at Hastings airport...2) Dec. 11: Although not quite as windy as the 4th, peak north-northwesterly gusts of 45-55 MPH were again common across the area, including 54 MPH at Ord airport. 

2017 Nebraska Cooperative Observer Precipitation Tables (around 45 sites)
2017 Kansas Cooperative Observer Precipitation Tables (around 18 sites)
(for the 2017 tables, data for the previous month usually gets updated by around the 15th of the current month)

2016 Nebraska Cooperative Observer Precipitation Tables (around 45 sites)
2016 Kansas Cooperative Observer Precipitation Tables (around 18 sites)

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